Making the Decision to File For Divorce
Making the decision to end your marriage is never easy and/or navigating related issues like alimony, child support, and time-sharing can be a stressful experience for everyone involved. The good news is that you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Our divorce attorneys have the experience and resources needed to guide you every step of the way.
Our Jacksonville divorce lawyers at Douglas Law Firm help people across the region effectively unwind their marriages in a timely manner. We handle the full slate of family law issues that often come with the decision by one or both spouses to end their marriage. Our attorneys combine decades of legal experience and a track record of significant success to offer comprehensive and personalized services to the people that we represent.
If you are considering a divorce or grappling with other family law questions, it is important to have an experienced attorney in your corner. You can rely on the Jacksonville divorce lawyers at Douglas Law Firm to guide you through these sometimes complicated issues and get you on the path to financial and personal freedom.
Florida’s ‘No Fault’ Divorce System
Florida’s no-fault divorce system is designed to allow spouses to go their separate ways without having to point the finger at each other and argue over who is to blame for the dissolution of the marriage. Instead, at least one spouse simply must tell a court that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Divorce is either contested or uncontested. No matter the route you take our Firm will handle all of the paperwork for you. The difference depends generally on whether the divorcing couple can see eye-to-eye on the dissolution or if the couple can not reach an agreement on at least one aspect of their divorce. Spouses will need to go through a court process with a Jacksonville divorce lawyer to finalize the divorce regardless of whether it is contested, but they can limit complications and acrimony by agreeing among themselves how various issues will be resolved.
Those issues often include:
- Asset division: Who gets the house, other assets (and even the family dog) can be some of the most contentious disputes in divorce cases.
- Alimony or spousal support: Courts order one spouse to pay another alimony in some cases to ensure a basic standard of living. These payments are often temporary and may sometimes be done in a lump sum.
- Child custody and visitation: “Timesharing” generally refers to child custody and visitation arrangements. Judges consider several factors to determine what is in the best interest of the children involved.
- Child support: These support payments are largely based on a predetermined formula, with judges also considering a number of specific factors.
Contested versus Uncontested Divorces in Florida
In a contested divorce, the spouses cannot reach an agreement on at least one area of their divorce. It is quite normal for couples filing for divorce to have disagreements, but it’s important to understand that contested divorces are often the norm.
An uncontested divorce, alternatively, is one in which the spouses have reached an agreement. The marital settlement agreement is submitted in court awaiting a judge’s final approval before the divorce is made official. This is a binding legal document that can only be modified under limited circumstances.
The Florida Divorce Process Explained by Our Jacksonville Divorce Lawyers
Whether it is contested or uncontested, the legal process for obtaining a divorce begins when one or both spouses file a lawsuit in state court. The lawsuit asks the court to legally unwind the marriage.
Fortunately, for some divorcing spouses, Florida offers a simplified divorce option. This option is particularly attractive for spouses who do not have young children and are willing to work together to finalize the divorce without a protracted court battle. Our Jacksonville divorce lawyers can advise if this is an appropriate legal option for you.
- Spouses seeking a simplified divorce cannot have any children under the age of 18 and must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- At least one spouse must have been living in Florida for the previous six months.
- Both must agree that neither spouse is seeking alimony from the other and they must tell the court that they have come to an agreement about how the spouses will divide any assets and debt.
Uncontested divorces that do not qualify for the streamlined process can also be resolved relatively efficiently. In situations in which some of the issues are contested, divorcing spouses (and/or their Jacksonville divorce lawyers) can work to come to a solution rather than fighting it out in court. A third-party mediator may also be helpful in these cases.
For contested divorces, the case proceeds similarly to other kinds of litigation. The spouses are required to turn over certain financial information to each other at the outset. This is meant to give each spouse a clear understanding of the financial situation. The information will also help guide the judge in resolving issues like spousal and child support.
The court will hold hearings and possibly a trial, in which each spouse can present evidence and make arguments about how the issues should be resolved. They may also call witnesses when needed.
How Our Jacksonville Divorce Lawyers Can Help
If you are considering a divorce in Florida, do not face it alone. You have the right to have a seasoned family law attorney by your side.
It is crucial in divorces to enter the process with a clear and fully developed strategy. The Jacksonville divorce lawyers at Douglas Law Firm can help you determine what is on the table when it comes to child custody, support, and alimony. An attorney can also work with you to anticipate your former spouse’s priorities going into the litigation.
At Douglas Law Firm, our Jacksonville divorce lawyers guide clients through the legal process and keep them fully apprised of their rights and options every step of the way. Our lawyers also work tirelessly to resolve these matters without stressful and complicated court battles.
To learn more about how our Jacksonville divorce lawyers can help you and your family, contact us online or call 800-705-5457 for a free consultation. Douglas Law Firm has offices in Palatka, Orange Park, St. Augustine, and Jacksonville.