Divorce Essentials – Top Five Things You Need to Know
As the new year begins, many people are returning to their usual routines. Some, though, are looking to start the year with a divorce. And, in reality, the divorce process can take several months or longer if there are complications. As such, those choosing to divorce in Tampa should understand the following information to ensure they are prepared for what lies in their future.
- Florida Divorce Requirements
To file for divorce in Florida at least one party must have been a resident for at least the past six months. A member of the armed forces qualifies as a resident if that person has been stationed in Florida for six months. Also, if Florida is their state of residence with the military, than that person may also file for divorce in Florida in the county where the parties last lived together.
- Uncontested Divorce
The fastest and easiest way to dissolve a marriage is through signed marital settlement agreement between the parties regarding the divorce and related issues. If the parties sign an agreement then it becomes an uncontested divorce and the petitioner will attend an uncontested final hearing. Florida, as in other states, allows couples to divorce based on the marriage being “irretrievably broken”. Even if the couple is not in agreement about the divorce or when there are minor children involved, the courts very rarely require the couple to seek counseling prior to moving forward with the process. Essentially, one party just has to allege the marriage is irretrievably broken and he or she does not have to prove it.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
Once a couple decides to divorce, one spouse must file the necessary papers. The petition for dissolution of marriage must be filed with the Florida family courts, a division of the circuit court system. The divorce papers are then served to the other spouse, who must respond within an allotted time period. As long as the couple is in agreement about the division of assets, allocation of debts, and issues regarding the children, the divorce may be able to proceed without a trial. If a trial is necessary, the courts will set a date and time and both parties and their attorneys must attend.
- Division of Assets
Couples need to hash out the various settlement terms of the divorce. They need to resolve the financial issues including the division of assets. In Florida, property and other assets that the couple has accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. Marital property belongs equally to both parties and must therefore be distributed equitably to each spouse. An experienced divorce attorney is invaluable in helping you work through the negotiations of these difficult decisions.
- Custody and Visitation
Florida requires divorcing parents to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan becomes part of the divorce terms. The plan should be as complete as possible. This will not only build a good routine for the family, but it also offers a way to prevent disputes from occurring in the future. A parenting plan will outline where the children will reside as well as visitation for the non-custodial parent. Both parents may choose a shared parenting plan so they can both make important decisions regarding their children’s education, religion, medical treatments, and other issues.
- Help for a Divorce
Divorce is never easy, but it can be made less stressful with help from a qualified divorce attorney. Your lawyer will review your situation and work to ensure that your needs are met and your rights are protected. Choose an attorney with the experience and background to handle your divorce and guide you through the process. When you have made the difficult choice to divorce, contact the Tampa divorce and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+