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What to Do When Your Spouse Filed for Divorce in Florida

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Facing a divorce can be an overwhelming and emotional experience, especially when your spouse has already filed the paperwork. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s essential to understand the next steps and how to protect your interests. From navigating the legal process to managing your emotions, there are several crucial actions you can take to ensure a smoother transition. 

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Understanding the Divorce Process in Florida

Divorce laws vary from state to state, and it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations in Florida. In Florida, divorce is known as “dissolution of marriage,” and it can be granted on both fault and no-fault grounds. Understanding the divorce process in Florida will give you a clearer picture of what to expect and how to navigate the legal proceedings.

  • The first step in the divorce process is filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This is the document your spouse has already filed, indicating their intention to end the marriage. 
  • After filing, you will be served with divorce papers, officially starting the process. It’s important not to panic when you receive these papers. Instead, take a deep breath and focus on the next steps you need to take.

When Served with Divorce Papers

Being served with divorce papers can be a shock, but it’s crucial to remain calm and take immediate action. 

The first step is to carefully read the papers and ensure you understand the contents. Take note of important dates, deadlines, and any specific requests or demands made by your spouse.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the divorce papers, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Florida. Here at the Butash Law Group, we will guide you through the process, explain your rights and options, and help you develop a strategy to protect your interests. Time is of the essence when responding to a divorce petition, so it’s essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible.

How to Respond to the Divorce Petition

After being served with divorce papers, you have a limited amount of time to file a response. In Florida, the standard timeframe for responding to a divorce petition is 20 days. Failing to respond within this time frame may result in a default judgment, meaning the court will proceed with the divorce without considering your input.

When crafting your response, it’s crucial to address each issue raised in the divorce petition. This includes matters such as: 

  • child custody
  • child support
  • spousal support
  • and property division. 

It’s important to be thorough and provide any necessary supporting documentation to strengthen your case.

Child Custody and Support in Florida Divorces

If you have children,

  • child custody 
  • and support 

will be key issues in your divorce case.

Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements. The court may award sole custody to one parent or establish a shared parenting plan, depending on the circumstances.

In Florida, child support is calculated based on the income of both parents and the number of children involved. The court will consider factors such as medical expenses, daycare costs, and educational expenses when determining the child support amount. It’s important to work with your attorney to ensure a fair and reasonable child support arrangement.

Property Division in Florida Divorces

Dividing assets and liabilities is another critical aspect of the divorce process. Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital assets and debts are divided in a fair and just manner. It’s important to gather all relevant financial information, including bank statements, tax returns, and property documents, to ensure an accurate assessment of marital assets.

During property division, the court will consider various factors, such as 

  • the duration of the marriage
  • each spouse’s financial contributions
  • and the economic circumstances of each party.

Spousal Support in Florida Divorces

Spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded in certain Florida divorce cases. The court will consider factors such as: 

  • the length of the marriage
  • the standard of living established during the marriage
  • and each spouse’s financial resources when determining spousal support.

There are several types of spousal support in Florida, including:

  • temporary
  • bridge-the-gap
  • rehabilitative
  • durational

Permanent alimony used to be an option in Florida as well. However, due to the recently signed SB 1416, permanent alimony is not granted by the Florida courts anymore.

The specific type and amount of spousal support awarded will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. It’s important to work with your attorney to present a strong case for or against spousal support, depending on your situation.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Options

In Florida, mediation is often encouraged as a means of resolving divorce disputes outside of court. Mediation allows both parties to work with a neutral third-party mediator to reach mutually agreeable solutions. It can be a cost-effective and efficient alternative to litigation.

Alternative dispute resolution options, such as collaborative divorce or arbitration, may also be explored. These methods provide a more cooperative approach to resolving issues and can help minimize conflict and stress. Your attorney can guide you through these options and help you determine the best course of action.

Preparing for Divorce Court in Florida

If your divorce case proceeds to court, it’s crucial to be prepared. Your attorney will help you gather all necessary evidence, witness statements, and documentation to support your case. It’s important to dress appropriately and maintain a respectful demeanor in court.

During the court proceedings, you and your attorney will present your case, provide evidence, and address any legal arguments raised by your spouse’s attorney. It’s essential to follow your attorney’s advice and remain calm and composed throughout the process. Remember, the court’s primary objective is to reach a fair resolution based on the evidence presented.

Finalizing the Divorce in Florida

Once all issues have been resolved, either through negotiation or court proceedings, the divorce can be finalized. The finalization process involves drafting and signing a marital settlement agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of the divorce. This agreement will address matters such as child custody, child support, property division, and spousal support.

Once the marital settlement agreement is signed, it will be submitted to the court for review and approval. If the court finds the agreement fair and reasonable, a final judgment of dissolution of marriage will be issued, officially ending the marriage.

Butash Law Group – Your Divorce Attorneys in Lutz and Brooksville, Florida

We hope we have been able to give you a much better understanding of what to do when your spouse filed for divorce. What you need now is an attorney who specializes in family law and has a track record of successfully handling divorce cases.

Mike Butash of the Butash Law Group

  • will advocate for your rights
  • help you negotiate a fair settlement
  • and represent you in court if necessary. 

With our expertise, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system with confidence. Contact us to schedule your appointment!

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