Understanding Florida Divorce Law and Procedures
Let a board-certified family law attorney guide you through the process
If you’ve decided you must dissolve your marriage, you’ve already been through an emotional ordeal. Under the best of circumstances, the divorce process would move smoothly toward a resolution and you could put the anguish behind you. Unfortunately, the divorce process can be highly stressful even under the best circumstances. However, when you retain Sessums Law Group for your divorce, you get the advantage of more than 35 years of legal experience. We guide you every step of the way toward a beneficial resolution for you and your children.
Filing for divorce in Tampa, Florida
To qualify for divorce in Florida, you must prove the marriage exists and that at least one of the spouses has resided in Florida for at least the past six months. If you meet those requirements, you can file for divorce in the court of the country where one of you resides.
Florida family law provides for no-fault divorce. All you must do is state in your divorce petition that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” However, Florida does still allow petitioners to state a reason for the divorce, and courts can consider such grounds as adultery and cruelty when deciding about the division of property and alimony. You must be aware that if you allege grounds for your divorce, you must be prepared to prove the allegations.
The steps in the divorce process include:
- Filing the petition — The petitioning spouse files a complaint asking the court to dissolve the marriage and requesting an order for child custody, child support, alimony, and property distribution.
- Serving the summons and complaint — The petitioning spouse arranges for service of process. Usually, a third-party process server delivers a copy of the complaint and a summons from the court.
- Filing an answer — After service of the complaint, the Respondent spouse has 20 days to file an Answer with the court.
- Financial disclosure — Each party must make a full financial disclosure to the other.
- Discovery — Each party has the right to demand information from the other.
- Negotiation/mediation — To avoid a costly, time-consuming trial on the issues, the parties meet to negotiate a marital settlement agreement. If negotiations stall, they can voluntarily enter mediation, or one party can ask the court to order mediation.
- Settlement or trial — If the parties achieve a marital settlement, they present the agreement to the court for approval. If they fail to resolve any issues, those are held over for trial in court.
There are several keys to a successful divorce, but preparation is essential. We advise clients to meet with us well in advance of filing so we can help you gather all pertinent information for your complaint. Preparation is also important for the successful negotiations and/or mediation. At Sessums Law Group, our hardworking attorneys provide detailed assistance during every step of the divorce process to help you achieve the best possible result.
Contact our knowledgeable Tampa divorce lawyers for personalized service
Sessums Law Group understands that, even though the divorce process is standard, no two divorce cases are ever the same. We do everything we can to provide reliable advice and answer all your questions. Call us today at 813-435-5058 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.