Divorce can be challenging both emotionally and financially, even when you accept that your marriage is over. Resolving issues such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support can cause strife and lead to lasting financial harm if not handled correctly.
Even in an amicable divorce, you need an experienced divorce attorney who will help you assess the financial consequences of issues and assist you in making decisions with your future in mind. The attorneys of Florida Law Advisers, P.A., will provide the personalized attention and compassionate client service you need as you create a new future for yourself.
The family law attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., offer:
- More than 20 years of combined experience in divorce and child custody matters
- High-quality legal representation at a reasonable cost and with flexible payment options
- A nationally recognized law firm based in Tampa
- A law firm rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau
- Hundreds of positive Google reviews from satisfied clients throughout Florida.
No matter how difficult the days ahead look to you, our Tampa divorce lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and commitment to help you move forward. We will be there to advise you and advocate for you at each step, making sure you understand your legal options. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.
Our Tampa Divorce Attorneys Are Here For You
Amid the emotional discussions and negotiations that are necessitated by a divorce, your divorce attorney serves as an adviser and dedicated advocate for your best interests.
A divorce agreement that does not provide proper legal protection could leave you without your home or a substantial portion of your income. You could face unexpected tax consequences. In addition to suffering a lasting negative financial impact, you could lose the ability to see your children when you wish.
The attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., understand your legal rights under Florida divorce law. We can help you make well-considered decisions for yourself and your children. By offering a sound perspective informed by experience, your attorney can help you make the best decisions for your future and your family throughout your case.
As your attorneys, we will:
- Discuss your needs, goals, and concerns so we can advise you regarding your legal options.
- Gather documents and evidence needed to support your demands in a marital settlement agreement.
- Negotiate on your behalf to reach a marital settlement agreement with your spouse.
- Draft and file court petitions and motions necessary to obtain a divorce.
- Present your marital settlement agreement in court, or if necessary, represent you in a contested divorce proceeding.
How To Obtain a Divorce in Florida
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. That means you can obtain a divorce without proving either partner was to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Florida recognizes the mental incapacity of a spouse as grounds for divorce. That might be cited to exclude an ill spouse from the decision-making required in divorce proceedings.
To be eligible to file for divorce in Florida, one spouse must have been a Florida resident for at least six months. If one spouse lives in Tampa, either of you could file a petition with the Clerk of the Hillsborough County Circuit Court. A divorce lawyer can assist you with the paperwork.
A petition for divorce may ask the court to grant any of the following:
Along with filing divorce papers, the petitioner arranges for a copy of the divorce petition to be served on the spouse. Once papers are delivered, the spouse who is served papers has 20 days to respond. The respondent may agree to the divorce as demanded or counter with their own demands.
If the respondent fails to answer within 20 days, the petitioner can file a motion for default and ask the judge to dissolve the marriage and grant the relief they have previously requested.
Once a response has been filed, each party must file disclosures of their assets and debts so the court can make decisions about equitable division of marital property, alimony, and other support. At this point, the judge may issue temporary orders providing alimony or forbidding either party from selling the marital home or other property or making unnecessary large purchases. The court may require the parties to attend mediation prior to allowing a hearing on temporary relief.
Some couples may meet the requirements to file for a simplified dissolution of marriage. The criteria include that:
- Both spouses agree to a simplified dissolution of marriage.
- Both spouses agree that the marriage has become irretrievably broken.
- The couple has no minor or dependent children.
- Neither spouse is pregnant.
- At least one spouse has resided in Florida for the prior six months.
- The parties have agreed on the division of marital property.
- Neither spouse requests alimony.
Both must appear at the hearing for a simplified dissolution of marriage, where the judge will review their petition and statements they made on the petition form. Both parties will be given a certified copy of the final judgment dissolving their marriage.
Usually, a divorce attorney will help a petitioner file for divorce with demands for relief that will withstand a judge’s review for fairness and what is required by law. Similarly, a divorce attorney can help a respondent who has been served papers answer a divorce petition if they have counter demands.
Collaborative Divorce vs. Contested Divorce in Florida
If the parties to a divorce can come to an agreement, they can present a marital settlement agreement to the court. The judge can review the agreement and grant its contents as the basis of a final divorce order.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties to the divorce and their respective attorneys work together to negotiate a marital settlement agreement, which addresses issues such as division of property, child custody, child support, and alimony.
In a collaborative divorce, each party signs a participation agreement in which they agree to cooperate with each other to reach a fair settlement. Each spouse commits to full disclosure, honest communication, confidentiality, and avoiding litigation. It is an opportunity for the parties to settle their issues without fighting in court, which allows the details of the divorce to remain private.
When the parties to a divorce cannot agree on an issue that must be settled, the case is considered a contested divorce, also known in Florida as “regular dissolution of marriage.” A contested divorce is not uncommon. Contested often refers to a litigated divorce requiring the presentation of opposing demands, evidence, and testimony in court.
Having handled many divorce cases, our preference is to work with our clients and their spouses and legal counsel to resolve disputes through negotiations. But we are fully prepared to stand up for you in a contested divorce and represent your interests in court if necessary. We can also help you to contest a divorce if your spouse is hiding assets to avoid paying alimony or is trying to keep you from spending time with your children.
Many couples choose mediation to work through marital issues and find ways of agreeing to the terms of the divorce. A mediator is a neutral party who facilitates discussion to try to help the spouses work toward an agreement. Each spouse may have their own attorney present during mediation. Sometimes, family court judges require mediation before scheduling a divorce hearing.
If mediation is successful, the parties sign a settlement agreement outlining the terms to present to the judge. If mediation fails, the parties must litigate their divorce in court.
What is the Timeframe of a Divorce in Florida?
The duration of a divorce case will depend on various factors, including:
- The type of divorce (simplified, uncontested, contested)
- Whether the couple has minor or dependent children
- The complexity of the couple’s assets
- Whether the spouses have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or can settle before filing for divorce or during litigation
- The schedule and availability of the family court
At a minimum, the law requires a 20-day waiting period after filing the divorce petition before the family court can finalize the divorce judgment. A simplified divorce can take as little as a month to complete. A contested divorce can take a number of months to more than a year. The spouses can speed up a contested divorce by settling some or all of their outstanding issues.
How Much Will a Divorce Cost?
Consider the expenses you may incur if you litigate any outstanding issues or disputes with your spouse. You may want to negotiate a settlement with your spouse rather than go to trial.
Talk to Seasoned Tampa Divorce Attorneys
At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., our mission is to provide stress-free, cost-effective results to individuals seeking to end their marriages. No matter how difficult your situation may seem, our Tampa divorce attorneys have the knowledge and experience to advise you on the appropriate steps to take and ensure your financial protection for the future.
Florida Law Advisers is a full-service law firm serving clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, and throughout Central Florida. We will be there for you every step of the way, advocating for you and making sure you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.