Experienced Divorce Lawyer Serving the Greater Tampa Bay Area
Divorce is rarely something people look forward to—even if it is a mutual agreement between spouses to separate and divorce. Even if you believe it’s the best decision for you and your spouse, you probably still aren’t looking forward to what lies ahead. An experienced Tampa divorce lawyer that’s knowledgeable in Florida laws can answer questions and help you with tough decisions.
Despite what you’ve been told or what you have read online, divorce does not have to be a battle or otherwise negative process. In fact, there are far more amicable divorces than nasty ones.
The vast majority of divorces end by agreement or mediation. Unfortunately, bad experiences tend to get the most attention and make the most noise. We do everything we can to educate our clients about divorce laws and the legal system and empower our clients to take control of the process.
For many people, divorce is the first time they have ever stepped foot inside a lawyer’s office or a courtroom. There is a lot of new legal terminology to digest and a lot to take on, which is why our team is here for you at every stage. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help clients all throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including the towns of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Plant City.
Divorce & Children
Divorce is often a very emotional situation. Both parties often have a difficult time ending the marriage and dividing the assets and establishing legal obligations to their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Determining child custody and parental rights is often the most difficult task for both parties.
Florida believes strongly in shared parental responsibility. It is very difficult to establish sole custody or single parent status in a divorce in Florida unless there has been documented abuse of the children presented to the Court.
Even then, Florida may provide the other parent with the right to visit their children under special protective circumstances.
It is the belief of the Florida courts that regardless of the ability of the parents to get along in a marriage, they are both responsible for the upbringing of the children.
Even if the children live with one parent more than the other, both parents retain a legal right to make decisions about the health and welfare of the children of the marriage.
The Court will require that a parenting plan is created and presented to the Court for approval before the finalization of the divorce is granted. This parenting plan will include living arrangements, visitation rights, decision making plans, and all other issues pertaining to the welfare of the children.
Required Parenting Class
Florida now requires that all parents attend a Court approved parenting class prior to the dissolution of marriage. This class is designed to prepare the parents for raising children as a single parent and informs them of their responsibilities to the other parent after the divorce.
This is a mandatory class and varies in length by county. Your divorce attorney will inform you of the available classes in your area. Proof of completion is necessary for the divorce to be finalized.
Financial support of the children is determined on the net wages of both parents and the number of children in the marriage. Florida Statutes has created a chart that establishes the amount of child support that is necessary based on these two factors. Preference is not given to either parent at this point; the support is based on income levels alone.
However, there may be other factors that are presented to the Court that may require one or the either parent to provide additional forms of support while the children are minors.
This may include:
- Health insurance coverage for children
- Additional support for special needs children
- Expenses related to schooling
- Expenses related to extracurricular activities
Establishing support guidelines is often the most difficult part of the negotiation process for finalizing the divorce. Although Florida has established specific guidelines for support amounts, there are often too many other circumstances surrounding the support to just go by these figures.
Your Tampa child support attorney will have to create a support plan for the children and present it to the opposing attorney for their approval. Once negotiations are completed, the final figures must be presented to the court for approval.
The Court reserves the right to change or alter any support plans if it feels that the plan is not in the best interest of the children.
Relocation of the Children After Divorce
Florida has very strict laws and procedures concerning the relocation of children after a divorce. Relocation is defined as moving 50 or more miles from the area where the children currently live for a period of 60 or more consecutive days.
Divorced parents must understand that relocating the children without the express consent of the other parent, and with the proper court documentation filed and approved, is against Florida law.
Parents who desire to relocate their children must file a petition with the Court establishing that they need to relocate and the reason for that relocation. The other parent is given a limited number of days to respond to that petition. The response, or lack of will determine how the Court rules on the relocation petition.
Overall Best Interest of the Children
Overall, the best interest of the children is always foremost on the agenda of the Florida Court System. Florida does not give preference to either parent when it comes to custody or support, and encourages both parents to take part in raising the children, even though they are divorced.
The Court will always consider outside factors regarding the children, such as who the child has a closer relationship with or work schedules. They will determine who can provide the most care and how to establish a visitation and living arrangement that is best suited for all parties involved.
While the adults in the marriage are going through a very emotional time when they are getting divorced, the children often suffer the most. Adults can forget how traumatizing the divorce is on the children. The Court wants to make sure that they are protected as much as possible during this stressful time.
Partner with our Expert Family Lawyers
With huge decisions on the horizon and your future on the line, it’s important to find an experienced and reputable divorce lawyer in the Tampa area who gets it. You need a partner, not a boss.
You want an ally who is willing to help and guide you, not drag you down a path that is unfamiliar and frightening. You want someone who will give you the knowledge and power to make your own decisions and take control of your own life.
Family law is one of the most complicated areas of law because it delves deep into the heart of human relationships. These are not cases about broken contracts or damaged business agreements.
Family law cases involve the most fundamental aspects of our lives, and if not handled appropriately, the effects can impact you and your family for the rest of your lives.
This is why it is incredibly important to choose a divorce lawyer who cares about the legal outcome of your case and your future.
Speak to a Tampa Divorce Lawyer Today
Whether this is your first marriage or you have been married before, you probably have a lot of questions. We look forward to talking to you about the issues in your case and the strategies available to you. Family and matrimonial law is our main focus, so we offer unrivaled knowledge and experience.
Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you create a case plan designed to achieve your goals, conserve your assets, and bring about a peaceful resolution to your family law matter. Our Tampa divorce lawyers help clients in Clearwater, St. Petersburgh, and Plant City. We also help clients that live in Pasco County, Pinellas County as well as Hillsborough County.