The decision to get a divorce is a incredibly difficult one to make. Unfortunately, it is not always a mutual decision. While you may see the writing on the wall, your spouse may not feel the same way. When you finally work up the courage to tell your spouse you want a divorce, only to have them tell you they do not want to get one and will not agree to one, that can be incredibly frustrating.
The good news is that, in Florida, only one spouse needs to want a divorce in order for a divorce to be granted. This type of divorce is known as a contested divorce. While you do not need to get the agreement of your partner to separate, you will need to take several steps to prove to the court that it should grant you a divorce. Of course, the first step is to secure the services of an experienced and qualified Florida divorce attorney, like our attorneys at Blair H. Chan, III, PLLC.
Once you secure a qualified divorce attorney, you will need to work with them to file papers for your “contested” divorce. Once you have produced these papers, your spouse will then need to be served with these papers. This can be an unpleasant task for the divorce-seeking spouse to manage on your own, and a divorce attorney can help you secured the services of a professional process server or even the sheriff’s deputy of the county in which your spouse lives.
Either way, you will need someone to serve papers on your spouse so you can legally document that they received the petition. This is because often times in contested divorce cases, the party who has been served papers will not respond, and in these situations you can request a default judgment after 20 days have passed without a response. An experienced attorney is necessary for these situations due to the complexities of determining when you can file for default judgment, how to go about doing so, and how to petition the court to divide property and determine custody of any children. Otherwise, you risk having your request for default judgment denied and going right back to square one—an outcome no one wants.
If your spouse does ultimately respond, however, this is when the process can get more complicated. At this stage, you need an experienced Florida divorce attorney to help you fill out a financial affidavit and walk you through the process of having a Florida court assess your property and child custody requests. Making sure you get a fair shake from the court during this process is incredibly important, and a skilled Florida divorce attorney will make sure that you are not bullied, intimidated, or guilt-tripped into an agreement that is not as advantageous to you simply because your spouse doesn’t want to cooperate.
Getting a Contested Divorce?
If your spouse does not want a divorce, you need the experience and advices from a divorce attorney to make sure you can navigate the complex legal processes you will face. At Blair H. Chan, III, PLLC, we have extensive experience in representing clients seeking a contested divorce. Contact us today to learn more.