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Fort Walton Beach Divorce FAQs
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Out of all the decisions you ever have to make in your life, deciding to go through with a divorce may very well be the most difficult and confusing one. The kindest, quickest, and “easiest” uncontested divorces are sure to still be tumultuous at times, or at least frightening. It is a big decision that will shakeup how your life pans out for the rest of your years. You need to reach decisions about child custody, equitable distribution, alimony, and much more. Where are you to begin?
The Virga Law Firm, P.A. and our attorneys want to make going through and completing a divorce as stress-free as possible. In order to get you started in the right direction, we have compiled a helpful, comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about divorce in Florida and other related topics. If you already know that you need legal guidance for your divorce, do not hesitate to contact us by calling 800-822-5170 and asking for an initial consultation. We make ourselves available 24/7 for client convenience.
How Do I Get Divorce Papers Served?
Probably one of the most common questions our lawyers hear about divorce is how the divorce papers are actually served. Furthermore, people want to know if they can serve those papers on their own, or if they need to get professional assistance to make certain they are served correctly.
When you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you cannot take much more legal action without first officially notifying your spouse that divorce papers have been filed. To make this action official, you can ask a sheriff to deliver them on your behalf, hire a private process server to do it, or give the papers to someone aged at least 15 years old who lives with your spouse. Depending on where you and your spouse live, you might also be able to mail the papers to them officially. You should not try to deliver divorce papers on your own if you are afraid of domestic violence, or if you have any reason to believe your spouse might throw them away and pretend they were never served.
Lastly, some spouses try their best to escape divorce by actually physically disappearing. If you cannot locate your spouse to have divorce papers mailed or delivered to them, you can use a newspaper or similar publication to announce the divorce. After four postings of this nature, a Florida divorce court judge can make a default judgement and allow the case to continue as if they have no objections to your divorce decree.
Need help getting divorce papers served? Call us at 800-822-5170 for legal assistance.
After a Divorce Filing, What Happens?
Have you filed for divorce and officially served the divorce paperwork to your spouse? Congratulations, you have started your divorce and completed what many people consider to be the most difficult part. What happens next, though?
The responding spouse has up to 20 days to create and provide a written response to the divorce filing. They can submit an answer, which typically means they agree with your ideas of how the divorce should progress and do not want to make a contest of it; they can contest your divorce papers, stating they do not like one of your propositions, such as how to decide child support or any other stipulation; or, they can file a counter-petition, which is effectively making their own divorce decree and suggesting it be used instead of yours.
No matter the response they want to give, the 20-day time limit stands. Failing to respond at all can allow a Florida family law judge to enter a default judgement in favor of the filing spouse. Keep this in mind in case you are the one who got served divorce papers. When less than just three weeks go by, the court can default the case!
Do not miss the 20-day time limit to respond. Contact us now!
My Spouse Cannot Be Located – Can I Divorce Them?
You can always file for divorce from someone, whether they are present or not. Trying to divorce someone in absentia is a difficult, different process than what you might expect, though. Before you can file for divorce, you have to make a genuine effort to find your spouse. Do you know where they might go if they ran away, like a relative’s house? Where do they work? Is there a vacation spot they have always talked about? Look everywhere you can.
After a search for a missing spouse is deemed unsuccessful, you can file for your divorce and tell the court in earnest that you attempted to find them. If another 60 days pass without word from your spouse, you can file for divorce and start using newspaper notifications to reach them, as mentioned above in the FAQ about serving divorce paperwork.
Divorcing a missing spouse is difficult, but not impossible. Call 800-822-5170 for help.
How Do I Divorce Without Going to Court?
Most people understandably want to steer well clear of courtrooms for any reason, but especially for a family law dispute. The truth is your divorce will require the court’s attention at least once during its progression: for the final approval and signature from a Florida family law judge. The other truth is you can take steps to try to make certain a single court date is all you need.
When a divorce is heavily contested or highly complicated, it is possible to end up in court again and again, fighting for what you want in litigation. With mediation or arbitration, you can explore alternative dispute resolution methods to help smooth out and speed up your divorce. Relying on the spirit of cooperation, alternative dispute resolutions try to find middle grounds that spouses can agree works best. This idea of working together and not against one another can help push litigation to the back of everyone’s minds, greatly reducing the chances of having to go to court more than once. Indeed, you may even be able to not go to court at all if you are allowed to send your divorce attorney in your stead for the final approval.
Learn about mediation by asking for an initial consultation now.
Should I Try to Manage My Divorce On My Own?
Getting divorced without the guidance or representation of an experienced divorce attorney is possible but it is not advised. Legal conflicts of any kind – from family law to criminal defense – are serious issues that demand respect and attention. Trying to divorce on your own can be seen as a form of recklessness, as you could stumble into legal pitfalls that would have been easily avoided with an attorney leading the way. Most commonly, people who divorce without an attorney either do not file their divorce decrees correctly, or create a divorce decree the court later deems invalid due to legal errors. This costs them time, money, and energy in the end.
You might want to consider a divorce like a trek through the jungle. Yes, you can attempt it without a guide, but no, you probably will not like the outcome.
We want to help you find a more comfortable tomorrow through our representation. Call us at 800-822-5170 to ask about our services.
Will My Divorce in Florida Take a While?
Out of all the Florida divorce FAQs on this list, this one possibly ranks as the most common. Understandably, no one wants to linger in a marriage after they are certain things would be better if it was dissolved. You need to be careful to not let your eagerness or readiness to divorce turn into haste that could cause you to make a mistake that impacts your future.
There is no absolute way to know how long a divorce will take. There are simply too many variables that could add or remove days or weeks from your divorce’s overall timeline. However, a contested divorce is certain to take longer than an uncontested divorce by virtue of what it represents. Disagreeing with your spouse over important divorce aspects are legal speedbumps that slow everything down. With all of this said, if an estimation must be given, a contested divorce in Florida might take roughly a year to complete, especially if the court system is backed up with pending cases. Keep in mind, though, this is not a guaranteed timeline, only an educated guess.
If you are in an uncontested or mediated divorce, the amount of time to complete your divorce will likely be much shorter. As you are not fighting at every turn, you can hope that you will meet a fair resolution sooner or later, and only need the court’s attention once. In some cases, an uncontested divorce may end in as little as two months since the initial filing.
The Virga Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach is here to help! Call 800-822-5170.
Gerard Virga Founding Attorney
David Lohr Executive Director/Attorney
Chad Self Fort Walton Beach Managing Attorney
Tracie Phillips Orlando Managing Attorney
William West Ritchie Panama City Managing Attorney
Taylor Tippel Panama City Beach Managing Attorney
Andrea Ansley Attorney
Christopher Melendez 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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