What are the Steps in a Florida Divorce?
Filing for divorce can feel like an overwhelming and daunting task, but hiring an experienced Florida divorce attorney can help facilitate the process and protect your legal interests at every step. Depending on the specifics of your case, the divorce process may be longer or shorter than others, but a knowledgeable attorney can explain what steps to expect and answer all your legal questions. At the law office of Blair H. Chan, III, our team has been representing clients throughout the Tampa Bay area in their divorce matters and are here to help. Call or contact the office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the steps in a Florida divorce.
Filing the Petition and Answer
The first step is filing the petition for divorce with the court. The petition is filed by one spouse in the county where one or both spouses reside. The spouse who did not file the petition then has twenty days to file an answer to the petition that can agree to terms, disagree with terms, or list additional issues to resolve with the court.
Filing Additional Paperwork
Once the petition and answer are filed, additional documentation may be required with the court. This includes financial affidavits, child support guidelines, and affidavits if minor children are involved with the case. These must be filed within 45 days of the petition being served.
The next step in any Florida divorce is discovery. In addition to the additional paperwork required by the court, the lawyers for each spouse can request other information to assist in the negotiation of each outstanding issue. This includes mandatory disclosures about finances, tax returns, credit card statements, bank account information, depositions, interrogatories, and other information.
Mediation or Collaborative Divorce
The court almost always tries to get spouses to mediate or engage in collaborative divorce to settle their issues. There may even be mandatory mediation sessions before any matter in a divorce goes to trial. These alternative dispute resolution methods attempt to get spouses to agree to terms on their outstanding issues in order to finalize the divorce settlement.
Creation of Parenting Plans
If minor children are involved, the next step is the creation of a parenting plan. This includes all terms and conditions for custody, visitation, scheduling, pick up and drop off, and any other issues involving your child.
If some matters cannot be resolved, one of the final steps is going to trial. Here, each side will have a chance to present their case on an issue, and the judge will make the final determination for the divorce.
Once all issues have been resolved, there is a final hearing where the judge reviews all documentation in the case and finalizes the divorce. Once the divorce is finalized, the process is complete.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
Would you like to learn more about the steps involved in a divorce case? Then call the office or contact our Tampa divorce lawyers today at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III to schedule a free evaluation of your case now.