Contested Divorces in Florida
What to Expect – A Brief Overview
In Florida, the law allows for a contested divorce or uncontested divorce. A dissolution of marriage by way of a contested divorce means that the court will decide issues such as asset division, time-sharing, parental responsibility, division of debts and property as well as the award of alimony and child support.
Although most contested divorces do not end up in trial, it is wise and in your best interest that your divorce attorney is both a skilled negotiator and experienced litigator. A contested divorce can take much more time to finalize than an uncontested divorce.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
If you are the spouse who is initiating the divorce, a petition will be drawn up and filed for dissolution of marriage. In a contested divorce, the “respondent” or other party will have 20 days after being served to file an answer with the courts. The answers to the initial petition generally includes a counter-petition. Attorney Sanchez will then address the issues in the counter-petition and respond accordingly on your behalf. If you have been served with a petition for dissolution of marriage it is important that you meet with Attorney Sanchez as soon as possible so your answers to the petition and counter-petition can be adequately answered within 20 days.
In a contested divorce there will be a period of discovery. Discovery in short is putting together the pertinent and required information related to your marriage. This can include financial information regarding assets, debts, property or business financials as well as information from witnesses, interrogatories and depositions when applicable.
A contested divorce can take time and the courts allow the parties to ask for temporary relief such as temporary child support, time-sharing and temporary alimony if applicable. This is a very important step in most contested divorces, especially when there is high-conflict and children involved.
During this time, Attorney Sanchez will work towards a settlement through negotiating with your spouse’s counsel. If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, the judge may order a third party mediator to help you and your spouse to resolve the issues you cannot agree upon. Mediation and parenting classes are a requirement in all Florida divorces where minor children are present.
Although most Florida divorces do not end up in trial, if negotiations and the mediation process fails, Attorney Sanchez will begin to prepare for trial. In the trial phase, the Attorneys for both parties will present their case including any witnesses and will have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses presented by your spouse’s attorney. Closing arguments are presented and the judge will make a decision about each matter in the petition. As mentioned previously, this is when it is crucial that your divorce attorney has trial experience. Although the laws regarding divorce in Florida are the same in each county, the courts and judges in each county are unique. Attorney Nilo J Sanchez has over two decades of experience litigating divorce and family law cases in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco County, FL. Comfortable and confident regardless of the jurisdiction, Attorney Sanchez will work tirelessly to protect your best interests and the best interests of your family.
Is It Over?
There are times when a contested, high conflict divorce ends up with unfavorable results. There may be post trial motions that ask the courts for relief from the final judgement. Could be filed: Motion for Re-Hearing. If denied and you or the opposing party wishes to do so, a notice of appeal can be filed. If it is granted or if the case is reversed, the parties will be sent back to a trial court. If the appeal case is denied or “affirmed”, then the original final order will stand.
Contested divorces in Florida, particularly when there is high-conflict and matters that cannot be resolved through mediation can be a painstakingly long process. Divorcing amicably can be emotionally taxing. But when your divorce is coupled with conflict, disagreements and disputes, it is important that your Tampa Bay divorce attorney has the experience required to adequately represent you. Attorney Sanchez combines a calm voice of reason with the knowledge and tenacity it takes to reach a settlement that best represents and achieves his client’s goals.
Consult with a Divorce Lawyer – Tampa Florida
If you would like to speak with a Tampa Bay divorce attorney at Nilo J Sanchez & Associates, please call us directly or use our online form to contact us for a consultation. Our Tampa Family Law firm is conveniently located and represents clients from Tampa, Brandon, Valrico, Carrolwood, Lutz and Pinellas & Pasco County, Florida.