Family law is an extremely complex area with little room for error. Even if you and your spouse agree on the conditions of a divorce, the process can quickly become complicated if you fail to file the correct paperwork, miss a deadline, or overlook an important area of decision-making. Seeking the advice of an experienced family lawyer can help you navigate through these types of complexities.
The pile of divorce paperwork begins with your decision to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which must be done at your local court. If you and your spouse agree that there are irreconcilable differences, you can begin the process immediately. If your partner believes that the marriage can be repaired, however, the court may require marriage counseling prior to accepting your filing.
Once you have filed the paperwork, it must be served to your soon-to-be ex spouse. Depending on how easy it is to communicate with or locate this person, you or your attorney can serve the paperwork directly, you can request service from the sheriff’s office, or you may publish a notice in the newspaper.
Perhaps one of the most contentious parts of a Florida divorce is deciding who gets which assets and who takes responsibility for which debts. In general, this process is fairly straightforward. Assets or debts taken on before the marriage remain with the individual after divorce, while assets or debts gained during the marriage are split between the two parties.
It’s important to note that the division may not be 50/50, depending on what each party wants and what the court determines to be fair. During this process, each spouse must provide a signed financial affidavit and any other documents requested by the court. You may also have to share information regarding your income, assets, and debts, as well as copies of your tax returns, credit card statements, and bank statements.
If you have children, you must also address topics like custody, visitation, and child support. In situations where both parties agree on what is in the best interests of your children, the court may stick with your proposed custody schedule.
The court always starts out with the assumption that both parties should get shared parenting responsibilities, but other arrangements can be made if you or your spouse is unable and/or unwilling to provide care. When it comes to child support, the court uses a specific formula to figure out how much is owed, based on the income of both parents and how much time children will spend with each.
Divorce is emotionally tough, and it can be hard for you to make the right decisions when you’re in the middle of such a major life change. Get the legal help you need during your divorce by contacting Estevez-Pazos Law Firm at (305) 717-7130.
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