Defending Your Peace of Mind
Florida Divorce FAQ
Get Answers to Your Divorce Questions—Call The Virga Law Firm at (800) 822-5170 Today.
The process of divorce is not only plagued by bitter conflict; it is disarmingly complex and hard to navigate alone. From filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to receiving your final divorce decree, we are here to answer all of your questions. As your tried-and-true Florida divorce attorneys, our team at The Virga Law Firm, P.A. is dedicated exclusively to protecting your best interests and serving you to the best of our ability.
Having the right legal help doesn’t do much to alleviate the sting of breaking up with a spouse, but it can significantly minimize the stress and confusion of divorce. When you bring in our firm, you can be sure that your case will be handled with the utmost compassion and professionalism while we work to get the results you want.
Got questions about divorce? Contact us online or call (800) 822-5170 to talk to someone who can help.
What Is the Process of Divorce Like?
The divorce process starts with a decision. Then, regardless of whether the other spouse wants to end the marriage, one spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. After this occurs, the other spouse must be “served” divorce papers and receive official notice (even if they are already aware that the divorce has begun). Then, both spouses start the processes of negotiation and attempt to resolve their disagreements about property division, child custody, and so forth, using alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation and arbitration, if necessary.
Can I Get a Divorce if My Spouse Is Missing or Has Abandoned Me?
Divorce is a form of lawsuit, and the law requires that the person being sued (in this case, the person being divorced) be notified and given a chance to contest the lawsuit. However, this can be challenging or even impossible if your spouse has vanished, left the country, or otherwise difficult to get a hold of.
Cases of absentee spouses are not uncommon, and the law makes provisions for divorces where one spouse has disappeared or abandoned the other. While you may ultimately be able to proceed without ever hearing from your spouse, you are required to make an effort to locate them. First, you must conduct a search, then prove that you worked hard to find your spouse by completing an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry. After doing so, you can use what is known as “constructive service,” which allows you to “serve” your spouse by announcing your divorce in the newspaper 4 weeks in a row.
After conducting a search and publishing 4 consecutive divorce announcements, your spouse has 20 days to respond. After 20 days pass, you will be able to get a default decree, finalize your divorce, and move on with your life, with or without your spouse’s input.
Need help divorcing an absentee spouse in Florida? Call (800) 822-5170 for help.
What Is the Best Way to Avoid Divorce Court?
You may be relieved to learn that your divorce doesn’t have to look anything like it does on TV. Uncontested divorce is one of the only guaranteed ways to avoid a nasty court battle, but it is not an option for spouses who have even one serious disagreement. However, there are other ways of steer clear of the courthouse, even for divorcing spouses who butt heads about serious issues like child support or alimony.
There are a few paths you can take that, if successful, may keep you out of court, including mediation, arbitration, and the collaborative approach. If you opt to hire a divorce attorney who is a skilled negotiator, you immediately improve your chances of resolving your disagreements out of court.
How Long Will My Florida Divorce Take?
The length of time it takes to get a divorce depends largely on the circumstances surrounding your divorce and conflict resolution methods you choose. If your divorce is uncontested, you can be officially divorced in 2 months. However, if you and your spouse disagree on anything at all, it will take time to work out your disagreements in a way that is beneficial for both of you. You may spend months resolving your divorce in mediation or arbitration, which can speed up the process if successful but lengthen it if unsuccessful.
A court battle is always guaranteed to add several months, if not more, to your divorce timeframe. This is in part because couples that go to court often have such great conflict that they willingly give up power over the terms of their divorce in order to have it resolved. Such couples need a judge to intervene, assess the situation, and decide what the terms of the divorce decree should be, which can take up to a year or more.
Can I Get a Divorce in Florida Without Hiring a Lawyer?
Technically speaking, you can get divorced without legal counsel. However, that doesn’t mean you should. Some couples opt to use online services to purchase the legal documents and attempt to perform the divorce on their own in order to save money. However, this is far more likely to backfire than hiring an experienced divorce attorney.
While more cost-effective in the short run, doing divorce on your own increases your likelihood of committing major errors and setting yourself up for a serious legal headache thereafter. If your spouse hires a legal representative and you choose not to, you are setting yourself to be taken advantage of and given a lesser share of your marital property and assets. By failing to hire an attorney, you could even lose custody of your children and end up paying far more in alimony and child support than you’d like.
If you and your spouse have any conflict at all regarding the terms of your divorce, don’t do in alone and don’t attempt to resolve your legal disputes without a skilled, trained, experienced representative to fend for you.
Call a Florida divorce lawyer at (800) 822-5170 to schedule a consultation today.
Gerard Virga Founding Attorney
David Lohr Executive Director/Attorney
Chad Self Panama City Beach Managing Attorney
William West Ritchie Panama City Managing Attorney
Jill Warren Pensacola Managing Attorney
Andrea Ansley Fort Walton Beach Managing Attorney
Taylor Tippel Orlando Managing Attorney
Christopher Melendez Attorney
John Stokes Attorney
Matt Hutt Attorney
Tracie Phillips Attorney
April Hand Operations Manager and Florida Registered Paralegal
Danny Durnbaugh Chief Financial Officer
“I will definitely be recommending to anyone I know that needs a child custody or divorce attorney!” - A Divorce Client
“If you are looking for an attorney who is professional, honest, knowledgeable and responsive to your needs, Gerard Virga meets such requirements.” - A Divorce Client
“He responded to my messages promptly and I never felt rushed when speaking with him in meetings and phone conversations.” - A Divorce Client
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