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What Is The Divorce Process In Florida?

Tampa Florida Divorce Attorneys

It is natural to enter the divorce process feeling uncertain about what your future may bring. You may wonder what you will lose, and what you will gain, once the process is over. You are likely also wondering what the process will require of you, and you may not know what to expect. All of the thoughts and questions you have now are completely natural. To make it easier, and to help you understand how to best prepare, our Tampa Bay family lawyer explains the timeline of the divorce process.

The Petition

Every divorce in Florida starts when one spouse files the divorce petition. To do this, a person must file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the appropriate court, usually the county in which they live. The document must contain some important elements. Firstly, it must state that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship and that there is little chance for reconciliation. The petition must also include a statement of relief, which is asking the court to allow the divorce.

Service of the Petition

After a spouse has filed the petition, they must then serve their spouse with a copy. In addition to a copy of the petition, the non-filing spouse must also receive a summons. The summons tells each spouse when they must appear in court. Florida law requires this service to occur within 120 days after the petition is filed, but it is typically completed within one week.

The Answer

The spouse served with divorce papers has 20 days to respond to the summons. The answer can contain admissions or denials of any allegations made in the original petition. A counter petition can also include any other issues the responding spouse would like addressed during the case. If a counter petition is filed, the spouse that originally filed has 20 days to respond.

Disclosures

Every Florida divorce will include certain required disclosures. Two of the most common are the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and the Financial Affidavit. These disclosures must be filed within 45 days of service.

Discovery

Discovery is an important process that allows each side to ask the other party for information. Subpoenas, depositions, and other legal tools are used during this phase. The discovery process itself has many different deadlines, so it is important to work with an attorney who knows what those are.

Mediation

All Florida divorces, with very few exceptions, will require mediation before a couple enters litigation. During mediation, the couple will sit with a neutral third party mediator who will try to foster compromise and communication so the couple can reach an agreement about all terms of the divorce.

Litigation

Mediation does not always work and when that is the case, the two parties will have to enter litigation. Both parties must appear in court to argue their case and after listening to both sides, a judge will make all final decisions.

Our Divorce Lawyers in Tampa Bay Can Help You Through the Process

If you are getting a divorce, our Tampa divorce lawyers will be there for every step of the process. At All Family Law Group, P.A., our seasoned attorneys will fight for your rights and help you obtain the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 813-672-1900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0044/0044.html

All Family Law Group, P.A.
The law firm of All Family Law Group, P.A. provides legal services to the Florida cities including Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Riverview, Hyde Park, South Tampa, Ybor City, Northdale, Valrico, Gibsonton, Lithia, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Seffner, Sun City Center, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Northdale, Thonotosassa, Lutz, Fish Hawk, MacDill Air Force Base and all of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties. We will also represent DIVORCE clients in Polk, Hernando or Manatee Counties.

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