What to Expect in your Tampa Divorce Legal Process.
Tampa, Brandon, Valrico and all of Hillsborough County Divorce Attorneys
It is difficult to fully understand the divorce process until it actually begins and when you go through the process of it. Most people do not contemplate divorce when getting married. Unfortunately, during marriage, emotional, economical, and trust issues occur which cannot be contemplated at the time of marriage. The Tampa divorce lawyers at All Family Law Group will provide you with information to assist you in knowing your rights as to your children, assets and debt division, and possibly alimony/support depending on your individual circumstances.
We provide empathetic, caring, committed assistance tailored to your individual circumstances and we will guide you through the process of divorce as it is a process and negotiation. Most cases will be resolved through a marital settlement agreement or a mediation agreement resulting in an uncontested final hearing where these agreements will be incorporated into and enforceable by a final judgment.
Resolving your case amicably is our ultimate goal, if at all possible. If not, then our Tampa and Riverview divorce attorneys will use their knowledge and expertise to assure that your interests are well represented before the Court in a contested hearing or final hearing/trial.
At the law firm of All Family Law Group, our Tampa and Riverview divorce lawyers divide the divorce process into several steps. The steps are as follows:
- A free initial consultation. At your no-charge initial consultation we meet with you one on one to determine the legal issues involved in your case and advise you of the options available to you based upon what you have said.
- If you initiate the divorce, we will file a divorce petition. Filing a petition for dissolution of marriage is the first step in the divorce process. Once filed, the petition will be served by personal service upon your spouse who then has 20 days to respond to us and the court.
- If your spouse initiates the divorce, we will file an answer and counter petition within 20 days of the date you were served. The answer will include your response to the petition and the counter petition will include your requests for resolution.
- A mandatory case management conference is scheduled by the Court within 90 days of the date the petition for divorce is filed. The conference is held in front of a judge, and the parties are required to have filed certain pleadings including a Financial Affidavit, completion of financial disclosure and if minor children, completion of a parenting class and a child support guidelines worksheet. This is simply a case status conference and there is no testimony by the parties.
- Financial discovery occurs after the initial paperwork is filed. This is where the parties obtain and provide copies of financial information from and to each other as to their income, assets and debts
- If minor children are involved then issues regarding visitation and custody must be resolved. Custody and visitation are now known simply as "time-sharing." The terms primary and secondary custody have been eliminated by the legislature as of October 1, 2008.
- Other issues to be resolved include child support, child care, health and dental insurance as well as uncovered medical and dental expenses. Other Court requirements are preparation of a parenting plan including a detailed daily, holiday and summer time-sharing schedule of the parents, a child support guidelines worksheet, and both parents attendance at a mandatory parenting class either in person or online.
- After the financial discovery is completed, if we cannot come to an agreement beforehand, we attend a mediation conference which is mandatory in Hillsborough County. The majority of cases settle at mediation. If so, an agreement is drafted and signed at the time of the conference. A settlement agreement between the parties and their attorneys may also be negotiated prior to mediation or drafted after mediation using information from the mediation and further negotiations. An uncontested final hearing will be held if an agreement is reached.
- If parties do not succeed in reaching an agreement through mediation or negotiations between the parties and their attorneys, a temporary relief hearing may be held to address immediate issues, including issues relating to child custody, visitation (time-sharing), child support, alimony and attorney fees.
- If the parties cannot agree and the judge must decide the outcome, the first step is a pretrial conference. This is mandatory and the hearing is generally scheduled one month prior to the contested final hearing; however, it does depend on the judge's calendar. The primary purpose of the pretrial conference is to determine what issues will be heard at the final hearing or trial.
- A contested final hearing or trial is the final step in the divorce process. The issues are brought before the judge by testimony of the parties and evidence supporting each party's position. We will be thoroughly prepared to represent you and your position and to skillfully present thoroughly researched evidence to support your case.
Contact our Compassionate and Responsive Tampa and Riverview Divorce Attorneys at All Family Law Group
If you have questions regarding divorce, family law or bankruptcy, as well as foreclosure solutions, contact the Tampa divorce lawyers law firm of All Family Law Group. We provide a free initial consultation, accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express and charge reasonable and competitive rates. Furthermore, to assist you we have a team of attorneys and legal assistants who are committed to your case.
Our offices are conveniently located in Riverview on Highway 301 South directly off of Interstate 75, near the intersection of Bloomingdale Avenue and in Tampa in Hyde Park directly off the Crosstown. Contact our firm by e-mail or call 866-719-1674, 813-902-3903. We will respond at our earliest opportunity!
The family law attorneys in our Tampa, FL and Riverview, FL offices serve all of Hillsborough County, including Tampa, Riverview, Brandon, Gibsonton, Fishhawk Ranch, Apollo Beach, Valrico, Lithia, Temple Terrace, Thonotosassa, Sun City Center, Mango, Plant City, Ruskin, and Wimauma, Florida as well as MacDill Air Force Base.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna