Tampa Divorce Attorney
Divorce can be stressful and emotional even in the best of situations. A marriage is coming to an end, and while there are many positives to ending a bad marriage and looking forward to a brighter future, it can still be a challenging process to get through. One source of stress comes from not knowing what to expect from the divorce process. You may not know your rights or how to navigate the legal system, or what will be expected of you if you go to court. Laura A. Olson is a Tampa divorce attorney with 25 years of experience helping individuals through the Florida divorce process. From your initial consultation to the final entry of judgment, Laura will be there to explain how divorce works, let you know what to expect, and prepare you for every phase of the process.
What should I expect in the Florida divorce process?
Every divorce is different and will address the issues that are specific and relevant to your case, but divorce cases generally follow the same pattern or procedure. You can expect your divorce to proceed through the following stages:
Filing – Either spouse can initiate the divorce by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the circuit court in the county where the spouses last lived together or where either one currently resides. The filing spouse needs to show that at least one spouse has been a resident of Florida for at least six months, that a marriage exists, and that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. Florida has no-fault divorce, so the filing spouse does not have to prove the other spouse was at-fault or to blame in causing the breakdown of the marriage. Issues of fault may be relevant to other aspects of the divorce, however, including alimony, child custody and the division of property.
Deleted: Once the petition has been served on the other spouse, that spouse has 20 days to file an answer to the issues raised in the petition and possibly file a counter-petition to raise additional issues.
Disclosures – The court will require each spouse to give the other a financial affidavit and accompanying financial documents. These disclosures typically happen within 45 days after the initial petition has been served or a few days before a temporary hearing is scheduled. If a party fails to make the required disclosures, the court might dismiss the case or refuse to consider any requests of that party regarding financial matters. The parties must also complete and file a child support guidelines worksheet if child support is to be decided in the divorce.
Agreement or Trial – If the spouses can agree on how to resolve the issues in their divorce, such as the division of property, payment of alimony, child custody and child support, they can draft and sign an agreement and submit it to the court. The judge will review it and, if approved, incorporate the agreement into the final judgment of divorce. If the parties cannot agree, the judge may order mediation or schedule a hearing on the contested issues. At a hearing or trial, the parties, through their attorneys, submit evidence, question witnesses and make legal arguments on how the court should rule. The judge will make a final ruling on these issues when granting the divorce.
Tampa Divorce Attorney Here to Help
If you are considering a divorce or if you have been served with divorce papers by your spouse, call The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A., at 813-222-0888 for a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss your needs and concerns or to schedule an appointment in our Tampa office. We are here for you with practical advice and the right kind of representation. We’ll make sure you are ready to face the challenges that lie ahead, and we’ll get you through the process with advice and representation that reflects your interests and meets your needs.