What Rights Do I Have When Getting Divorced?


There are certain rights afforded to every individual when entering a divorce. Being aware and understanding these rights can only serve to benefit you during this process. If you are curious or concerned about your rights during your divorce proceedings, contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney to ensure that you are being treated fairly by your spouse and the courts during this process.

One of the most common questions asked is “Do I have a right to know what my spouse is filing with the court?” Yes. Service of process is regulated by Chapter 48 of Florida Statute and is regarded as an absolute right when involved in any court case. When entering into a divorce if your spouse filed the initial petition for dissolution he or she is required to properly serve you with these papers. A proper service usually occurs with a process server or sheriff, physically approaching you with the initial petition at your home. This is the most common type of service, however if you were served in another manner please make this known to your Orlando Divorce Attorney to discuss the validity of service. After initial service has been accepted, you will likely be notified of future filings through electronic communications or mail for all other documents. Similarly, when filing anything with the court, you must also provide a copy to your spouse. This keeps each party informed and provides the necessary paper trail and timeline of documents throughout the process.

If you and your spouse share children, developing a plan of timesharing is imperative. In regards to your shared children you have many rights during the divorce process.  The court requires both parents retain parental responsibility for the children and share time with the children. This includes financial and physical security. The first requirement the court will place on each parent is to “attend and successfully complete a parent education course as required by Florida Law” (61.21). Each party has 45 days to complete these courses after service of the initial petition. Florida Law also prohibits the movement of any child from their current school or daycare and further their residence without written agreement or order by the court. This provides you with the security, knowing your spouse may not relocate with the children without prior approval. You may request from the court a temporary order of timesharing and/or child support during the time prior to conclusion of your case. Discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney your options with parenting plans and support orders in regards to your pending divorce.

Another common fear is your right to marital funds during the pendency of your divorce proceeding. Florida statute is extremely protective of all monetary support during the divorce process. Statute restricts either party from selling, assigning or removing any property held by the parties at the time of filing. This includes but is not limited to, vehicles, property, homes, or stocks. You and your spouse are also prohibited from concealing or wasting any jointly owned funds and also incurring any unreasonable debts. Finally, parties must leave in place all insurance policies this includes home owners insurance, car insurance, or health insurance. These rules allow you to have access to all marital funds during the time of your divorce and until equitable distribution occurs. In further regards to your financial welfare during these proceedings, you may want to discuss with your Orlando Divorce Attorney a temporary order of alimony payments. Temporary orders ensure protection of the lesser earning spouse from financial hardship while the divorce process takes place.  If your spouse is concealing or wasting funds, or you need to protect yourself from financial hardship contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney today to discuss the steps needed to protect your finances.

One of the most important rights you have is your safety. If your safety, or the safety of your children, is being threatened; you have the right to protect your family through an order of protection against your former partner. An order of protection, or restraining order, will prohibit your partner from having direct or indirect contact with you. It can also require that they immediately vacate the shared home, award you with temporary custody of your children, and require that your partner surrender all weapons and firearms. If you feel your right to safety is being threatened, contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney to initiate an Order of Protection for your family.

One of your attorney’s jobs is to ensure that your legal rights are being protected during and after the divorce process. Contact your Orlando Divorce Attorney to discuss your rights and to begin your divorce proceedings.

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