Orlando, Florida Divorce Lawyers
The Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can help you file for divorce, and help you address some of the tough challenges that can arise during the divorce settlement process. Divorce is an emotional decision, but it is also a legal one. Couples going through divorce will need to make decisions about how to divide property and debts, make decisions about what will happen to the family home, and create a shared parenting plan (formerly known as child custody) if they have children. If there is a big disparity in income between you and your spouse, or if you made career sacrifices to raise children or to support your partner’s career during your marriage, you may also wonder whether you are entitled to receive alimony.
Many of these questions can be emotionally fraught and can lead to arguments, frustration, and overwhelm. Fortunately, you don’t need to navigate the divorce process on your own. The Orlando, Florida divorce attorney at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can look at your financial situation, help you understand your legal rights under the law, and assist you with reaching a divorce settlement and shared parenting plan that works for you and your family. Contact Timothy W. Terry, an Orlando, Florida divorce law firm today.
How to File for Divorce in Florida
The process of filing for divorce in Florida can take time and effort. If you’ve decided to file for divorce, you’ll need to file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage in court. To file for divorce in Florida, you’ll need to have Florida residency. In order to file for divorce in Florida, you must have lived in the county in which you plan to file for divorce for at least 6 months to establish residency. Unless one partner meets Florida residency requirements, you won’t be able to file for divorce in Florida.
In Florida, there are several types of divorce procedures you can use, and the type of divorce procedure you will use will depend on your unique circumstances. Under Florida law, you can file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, an Uncontested Divorce, or a Contested Divorce. Let’s explore each of these types of divorce:
- Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. If you and your former partner agree that you should get divorced and you do not have children, and you both agree about how you will divide your assets and debts, and you or your partner are not seeking alimony, you can file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. When you file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, both parties waive their right to a trial and appeal. Generally, a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is for couples who agree about their divorce agreement, and don’t have children. Even if you qualify to file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you may still want to hire an Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer. An Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can help you understand your rights and assist you with the paperwork. When you file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you give up certain legal rights. Before you sign away these rights, it may be in your best interest to speak to an Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer.
- Uncontested Divorce. An uncontested divorce is a divorce where both parties agree to all aspects of the divorce settlement. If you and your former partner can reach an agreement about dividing assets and debts, your shared parenting plan, alimony, and child support, you can file for uncontested divorce. With uncontested divorce, a judge won’t have to make decisions in your divorce case. It is entirely possible for a couple to begin the divorce process thinking they will file for contested divorce (because they do not agree about aspects of their divorce settlement), and eventually reach an agreement and file for uncontested divorce.
- Contested Divorce. If you and your former partner cannot agree about aspects of your divorce, you may need to present your case before a judge. When a case goes before a judge, this is known as contested divorce.
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Florida, you are likely facing a wide range of decisions. The law is clear about certain aspects of divorce (like child support amounts) and it is less clear about other aspects, like shared parenting plans, divisions of assets and debts, and alimony, which often depends on each couple’s situation and case. The Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can help you decide which kind of divorce process to use, help you file divorce paperwork, assist you with your divorce settlement, and fight for your rights in court, should you end up having to file for contested divorce.
What to Do If You’ve Been Served Divorce Papers
If you’ve been served divorce papers, you might be upset, shocked, angry, sad, and uncertain about what to do next. While this can be a highly emotional time for you and your family, it is important to remain calm and make wise decisions. The choices you make now can have an impact on your finances and your family for years to come. Here are some things to consider if you’ve been served divorce papers:
- Speak to an Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Any decisions you make, including leaving the house, caring for children, and choices about finances can affect your divorce case. Anything you say to your ex (and anything you write or text him or her) could potentially be used against you in court. Before making any major decisions, consider speaking to the Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law today.
- File a Response with Your Lawyer. Under Florida law, you only have 20 days to respond to a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. It is important to act swiftly. Your former spouse may have had weeks to speak to his or her divorce attorney. If receipt of divorce paperwork comes as a shock, getting help as soon as possible may be helpful.
- Review Your Finances. This might be a good time to review your finances and obtain official transcripts of bank accounts and other financial records. Don’t make any sudden purchases or sales because any financial decision you make during a divorce proceeding might be scrutinized by the court. Your Orlando, Florida divorce lawyer at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can review your finances and help you understand what your options might be for your divorce settlement under the law.
- Keep Your Children Out of the Line of Conflict. Emotional tension might be high while you are going through your divorce. In general, you’ll want to preserve your children’s regular schedules. If one parent was primarily responsible for caretaking, or certain aspects of caretaking, this should continue. As a general rule you and your partner should try to work together to avoid any disruptions to your children’s lives. Under the best interests of the child standards, judges will generally choose to maintain a child’s normal schedule and lifestyle should a parenting plan be disputed by the parents. If you aren’t sure what your lives will look like after divorce, this is normal and okay, but for now, it might be wise to keep things as stable as possible for the children.
These are just some things to consider if you’ve been served divorce papers. Being unexpectedly served divorce papers can be one of the most stressful and emotional moments in a person’s life. It can be tough to make decisions when your emotions are involved. The divorce lawyer in Orlando, Florida at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law can help you navigate the next steps.
Divorce is Hard, But We’re Here to Help
The decisions you make during your divorce can affect your family for years to come. Decisions regarding your divorce settlement are binding once they are finalized. It is important to get aspects of your divorce right the first time. For example, one aspect of a divorce that you’ll want to get right is your parenting plan. While it is possible to modify a shared parenting plan should changes arise, it can be very difficult to convince a judge to make changes to a parenting plan, and a parent will generally need to show how a change is in the best interests of the children. Filing for divorce will change your life and your family’s life forever. Getting your divorce settlement right is paramount. A divorce can affect all aspects of your life—from your finances, to your children, to your retirement. If you are thinking of filing for divorce in Orlando, Florida or if you have been served divorce papers in Orlando, Florida, reach out to the Orlando, Florida divorce attorney at Timothy W. Terry: Attorney at Law. Our divorce lawyer can assist you with the next steps.