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Divorce is stressful enough when you know what’s going on, but it can be even more emotionally taxing if you do not arm yourself with the right information. When filing for divorce in Florida, it can significantly reduce your stress if you know what to expect at each critical juncture.
Many of our clients ask, “What is the order of events in divorce?” and “What are all the steps involved in getting a divorce?” If you have similar questions and are in need of help from an experienced legal professional in Pensacola, we encourage you to call The Virga Law Firm, P.A. today at 800-822-5170.
In the meantime, here is an overview of what to expect during a Florida divorce.
Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
First, you must file petition for divorce in order to get the ball rolling. You can do so whether or not you and your spouse agree on whether or not to divorce and whether or not you have hashed out any details regarding child support, who gets what, and so on. It doesn’t necessarily matter who files the petition, as long as it happens. Florida is a no-fault state, so you do not have to demonstrate that one of you is at fault for the failure of your marriage in order to begin the process of divorce.
Obtaining Temporary Court Orders
Temporary orders are not necessary in every divorce. However, temporary orders are sometimes very important to the well-being of one spouse or of dependent children and family members. In cases where a divorcing couple lives in different residences or experiences sudden, significant financial disparity due to separation, a judge may order what is called temporary alimony to get both spouses through the divorce process with minimal undue difficulty or financial strain.
Temporary orders are also very important when it comes to caring for dependent children and family members while a couple is divorcing. Temporary child custody and child support orders ensure children do not suffer unnecessarily due to their parents’ separation.
Service of Divorce Papers and Response
This happens when one party officially files a divorce petition and someone notifies the other party via newspaper publication, mailing the divorce papers, service by law enforcement or a private servicer, or other means of notification. If both you and your spouse are on the same page, at least when it comes to getting divorced to begin with, you can arrange divorce paper service with your respective divorce lawyers.
In the state of Florida, your spouse has 20 days or less to submit a written response, rebuttal, counter-petition, or other answer to your petition for divorce. You may eventually be able to enter a default judgement against your spouse if they fail to respond, meaning that you may be able to proceed without them and get divorced anyway.
Negotiation of Terms
Unless you are one of those rare couples who agrees on absolutely every aspect of divorce, you will likely need to undergo at least some amount of negotiation and back-and-forth before arriving at a settlement you can be satisfied with (or at least tolerate). This is where having adequate legal representation comes in handy. Without an experienced divorce lawyer by your side to advocate for you, your spouse could take the lion’s share of assets and leave you with limited parenting time, diminished savings, and other negative repercussions.
If you and your spouse are not able to resolve your differences or disagreements via mediation, you may need to take your divorce to court. However, you can significantly reduce the need to take your divorce to court by bringing in a lawyer.
Finalizing Your Divorce
Whether you end in mediation or court, a judge will issue your finalized divorce decree once all is said and done. Your attorney can work with you to prepare an order of dissolution that you are happy with (and that contains any terms agreed upon by you and your spouse), and submit it to the court. Once finalized, the terms of your divorce decree are legally binding.
Need help with a divorce? Call The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at 800-822-5170 today. We can provide the personalized, dedicated service you need.
Gerard Virga Founding Attorney
David Lohr Executive Director/Attorney
Chad Self Fort Walton Beach 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
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