Steps to Finalize a Typical Uncontested / Contested Divorce in Tampa Bay
To get a divorce in Florida, either you or your spouse would have to have been a resident continuously in the state of Florida for at least six months prior to the time that you file your petition for dissolution of marriage. One of the most essential requirements to a divorce, is to determine whether you’ll need to hire a contested divorce attorney near your court jurisdiction in Tampa Bay. Divorcing spouses may wish to divorce amicably by way of an uncontested divorce, which can be more cost effective, timely and to help minimize conflict. Remember, an uncontested divorce can quickly turn into a contested divorce should spouses reach an impasse in any area of their divorce. Because of this, you’ll want to hire a Tampa area divorce attorney who has experience in all areas of family law, including negotiations, mediation and should your case end up in trial, divorce litigation.Read: How to Divorce in Tampa Bay Without Litigation
What to Expect in a Contested/Uncontested Divorce in Tampa Bay
- Filing or Receiving a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – Divorce, whether contested or uncontested usually starts when one spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court in their proper jurisdiction. A summons is issued and then a process service is done upon your spouse. Your spouse will have days to file his or her response to the petition and typically, they will file a counter petition. In the counter petition, they would (must) state the relief that they are seeking from you just as well as your petition will state the relief that you are seeking from your spouse in your petition. If you’re divorcing in the 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County, FL you will have a case management conference in a short period of time. Divorces heard in the The 6th Judicial Circuit in Pinellas County and Pasco County Family Law Courts respond similarly.
- Case Management Conference – A case management conference is a hearing that takes place before the court to address a variety of issues that will need to be settled and other matters relative to the divorce. This serves to address whether or not certain requirements are met such as;
- The completion and submission of financial affidavits
- Production of mandatory disclosure documents have been produced
- Status on required parenting classes for spouses if minor children are applicable
- Appraisal status if applicable
3. Mediation – After the case management conference there’s typically a mediation. At this mediation there’s a third party that neither represents you nor the other party and it’s an effort and an attempt at trying to come up with an amicable resolution. If an amicable resolution is reached, then the case reverts to a uncontested divorce case and your divorce lawyer should schedule a final hearing before the court for a very abbreviated final hearing. Read: Your Divorce Lawyer & Mediation
4. Temporary Hearings – If your divorce case does not settle in mediation, either you or your spouse could seek a variety of temporary relief from the court. The Court recognizes that divorce cases are lengthy in terms of time from the beginning to the end. A substantial amount of time may lapse and a party may need relief from the other. In this case you are permitted to have what’s called a temporary relief hearing. Here is where you or your spouse can ask for temporary spousal support, temporary time sharing, temporary child support as well as temporary attorneys fees and costs. This is typically what’s asked for, but there are various types of temporary relief that can be sought. Learn more: Filing for Temporary Child Custody Tampa Bay
5. Discovery – After the temporary hearing some additional discovery usually takes place. Depending on the case, discovery can take on many different forms.
6. Testimony – Ultimately if the case does not settle it goes before a judge who will hear evidence of testimony. The judge will make a ruling at that time of the final judgment or shortly thereafter and a final judgment of dissolution of marriage is drafted.
The court signs it and your divorce is final.
Negotiating the Terms of Your Florida Divorce vs. Going to Trial
It is beneficial to parties to try and resolve their cases amicably if at all possible family law judges are vested with enormous amounts of discretion. Much like divorcing spouses, what a judge may do today– they may not do tomorrow given the fact that judges have so much discretion. This in one important reason to try and resolve your case if you can amicably do so but to prepare ahead of time by hiring an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer who has both negotiating and litigating skills. Most divorces do settle out of court, but when they do not, you will want the best Tampa area divorce litigation lawyer for YOU, one that will provide sound legal counsel along with a proven track record in divorce litigation in Tampa Bay’s 13th & 6th Judicial Circuit Courts.
Marital Property Settlement Agreements
Typically, if a divorce starts off uncontested, indicating that the parties have had discussions about divorcing, but they haven’t reached a meaningful or tentative agreement. Usually, couples lack the legal knowledge required to put these documents together. A neutral party can meet with your attorney at which point you will discuss the terms of the agreement and if requested, allow the attorney to provide comments as to the merits of the agreement.
Even if your divorce is uncontested, your final agreement should still be in yours and your children’s (if applicable) best interests. You wouldn’t want to agree or disagree to something that could end up being detrimental to your future wellbeing. Once an agreement is established, a marital property settlement agreement is signed by both parties a very abbreviated final hearing. After testimonies, the judge will ask a few questions of you or if represented, your lawyer, confirm that all is in order, then they will sign a form of judgment of dissolution of marriage.
Tampa Bay Divorce Lawyers, Nilo J Sanchez & Associates PA
Nilo J Sanchez & Associates PA , Family Law & Divorce Attorneys have nearly 3 decades of experience and specialize in Florida Family Law in Tampa, FL. If you need to hire a Tampa Bay family law attorney who can represent you in a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce in the 13th or 6th Circuit Court Jurisdictions in Hillsborough, Pinellas & Pasco County, FL, call us to schedule a consultation. Prefer to use the form below to send us a secure message? We are happy to respond to schedule a divorce consultation. Zoom, telephonic and in-person consults are available for your convenience.
We know that divorcing can be very stressful and an extremely emotional time, especially when there is conflict. Our Tampa Family Law Attorneys offer compassionate, sound and aggressive family law legal representation and counsel that focuses on yours and your family’s safe and secure future.
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