Defending Your Peace of Mind
Supportive Counsel You Can Rely On
Pensacola Contested Divorce Lawyer
Call Our Experienced Attorneys for Your Complex Case - 800-822-5170
At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., our legal team has more than 100 years of combined legal experience. We have guided hundreds of clients to successful outcomes. Contested divorce cases are some of the most complex and emotionally traumatic. Our Pensacola contested divorce lawyers will guide you through the process and work tirelessly to protect your interests. Call us today at 800-822-5170 to discuss your situation with one of our compassionate attorneys.
With our services, you can expect:
- Clear, open, and honest communication
- Effective trial strategies
- Sympathetic legal assistance
If you are facing contested divorce, you need knowledgeable and reliable attorneys on your side. Each member of our legal team strives to provide the best possible representation to our clients. We will gather necessary information to support your case, and will represent you tenaciously in court.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is a type of divorce in which the spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or more critical issues related to their marital dissolution, such as the division of property, child custody, child support, alimony, or any other important matters. In a contested divorce, the couple essentially "contest" these issues in court, and a judge will ultimately make the final decisions if the spouses cannot reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation. This type of divorce is generally more time-consuming, emotionally taxing, and expensive compared to an uncontested divorce, where the parties agree on all major issues.
Common factors that can lead to a contested divorce include:
- Disagreements over property division: One of the most common reasons for contested divorces is the division of assets and debts acquired during the marriage. Spouses may dispute how to distribute property, such as the family home, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings.
- Child custody disputes: Child custody and visitation arrangements can be highly contentious, particularly when both parents want primary custody or when there are concerns about a parent's ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the children.
- Child support: Determining the appropriate amount of child support can be a source of disagreement, with one party believing that they should pay less or the other party arguing for more financial support for the children.
- Alimony or spousal support: Spousal support, also known as alimony, can be a contentious issue when one spouse seeks financial support from the other after the divorce. Disputes may arise over the amount, duration, or even the necessity of such support.
- Marital misconduct or fault: In some cases, one spouse may allege marital misconduct, such as adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or substance abuse, which can complicate the divorce proceedings and lead to disputes over property division and support.
- Legal fees and court costs: The financial burden of divorce can be a source of contention, especially if one party believes the other is responsible for a disproportionate share of legal fees and court costs.
- Complex financial matters: High-asset divorces, business ownership, investments, and other complex financial situations can increase the complexity of a divorce, making it more likely that the spouses will contest various issues.
- Disputes over prenuptial or postnuptial agreements: If the couple has a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, disagreements may arise over the interpretation, validity, or fairness of the agreement's terms, leading to a contested divorce.
If you and your spouse are not able to agree on important decisions regarding your divorce, then the case will be considered contested. Contested divorce situations are stressful, and require thorough preparation and an eye for detail. Our team will analyze your situation and protect your financial interests, as well as your relationship with your children. We also have the ability to work with financial advisors, forensic accountants, and other experts, depending on the complexity of your case.
In a contested divorce, there may be a lot of emotional tension and resentment between you and your spouse. We will objectively focus on the issues at hand and help reduce the stress associated with your divorce. Our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence on your behalf.
The courts in Pensacola will use evidence and testimony from both sides to make a decision regarding your divorce. If children are involved, the court will order a time-sharing schedule and parental responsibility according to the child’s best interests.
The child's best interests are based on:
- The age, sex, and health of the child
- The ability of both parents to care for the child
- The relationship of the child with both parents
- Any history of abuse or domestic violence
At our firm, we are not only committed to your satisfaction, but we are also committed to protecting the interests of your children. We will work tirelessly to build your case. Throughout the process, our legal team will stand by your side and help you make informed legal decisions.
The Legal Process of a Contested Divorce in Florida
Contested divorces in Florida involve a legal process where spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues related to the dissolution of their marriage. These issues often include division of property and assets, alimony, child custody, child support, and other related matters.
Here's an overview of the legal process for a contested divorce in Florida:
- Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: The process typically begins with one spouse (the petitioner) filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. In the petition, the petitioner outlines the grounds for divorce, their desired outcomes for the issues in dispute, and other relevant information.
- Service of Process: After filing the petition, the petitioner must serve a copy of the divorce papers to the other spouse (the respondent). Service can be accomplished through personal delivery by a process server, certified mail with return receipt requested, or another approved method.
- Response: The respondent has a limited time (usually 20 days) to file a response to the petition. In the response, the respondent can either agree or disagree with the petitioner's claims and may present their own requests regarding the disputed issues.
- Temporary Orders: During the divorce proceedings, either spouse can request temporary orders to address issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and the use of marital assets until the divorce is finalized.
- Discovery: Both parties can engage in the discovery process, which involves gathering evidence and information related to the contested issues. This may include depositions, interrogatories, requests for documents, and other forms of discovery.
- Mediation: In Florida, divorcing couples are often required to attend mediation to attempt to resolve their disputes before going to trial. A mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps them negotiate a settlement. If an agreement is reached, it can be formalized and submitted to the court.
- Pretrial Conferences: If mediation does not lead to a settlement, the court may schedule pretrial conferences to review the case, identify contested issues, and establish a timeline for the trial.
- Trial: If the spouses cannot reach an agreement on the contested issues, the case goes to trial. During the trial, both parties present their evidence and arguments, and a judge makes decisions on the unresolved matters, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- Final Judgment: After the trial, the judge issues a final judgment of divorce, which addresses all of the contested issues and officially ends the marriage. This judgment outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties post-divorce.
- Enforcement and Compliance: Both parties must comply with the terms of the final judgment. Failure to do so can result in enforcement actions and further legal proceedings.
How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?
The duration of a contested divorce in Florida may vary significantly depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the number of contested issues, the backlog of cases in the court system, and the willingness of both parties to negotiate and reach an agreement.
In general, contested divorces tend to take longer than uncontested divorces, as they require additional time for negotiation, discovery, and possibly a trial. It is common for a contested divorce can take anywhere from several months to a year or more to be finalized.
It's essential to consult with our contested divorce attorney in Pensacola, who can help you understand the process, estimate the timeline, and guide you through the legal proceedings.
Facing Contested Divorce? Call The Virga Law Firm, P.A. Today at 800-822-5170.
Contested divorce cases are complex, stressful, and time-consuming. At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we have extensive experience representing clients in contested divorce cases. Our compassionate Pensacola contested divorce attorneys will aggressively represent your interests and guide you through the legal process.
Contact our firm today to schedule an initial case evaluation.
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
Committed to Aggressive Representation
Same-Day Scheduling Available
6 Locations Throughout Florida
Over 100 Years of Collective Experience