Love is truly a splendid thing, and having a family is even better. However, what do you do when love has ended? Worst yet, what do you do when your children are involved. Today, that is what we will be discussing. We will be walking you through the best way to proceed in a divorce and child custody procedure.
The Legal System
The family law Florida court like many other states has a set procedure leading up to, and during the hearing. However, like in all states you have the ability to “go it alone”, or get represented by an expert in the divorce and custody battles. Like all things in life, we all have talents stronger in one area than another. What this means is if you are a surgeon, then get a lawyer. If you are an auto mechanic, get a lawyer. Actually, even if you are a family law Florida lawyer, go ahead and hire one.
In Florida, the first thing your lawyer will be able to help you with is to see whether you qualify for an express, online filing. Next, your lawyer will be able to assist you in filing required paperwork that the petitioner (the one seeking the divorce) wants the court to consider such as:
*Dividing assets and debts
*Child support and alimony
Once this paperwork has been created, your lawyer will now assist you in serving your spouse or respondent (the spouse being served with divorce) with the divorce paperwork.
Immediately after being served the respondent will have 45 days to provide to the court a financial affidavit for the court to consider when deciding on custody, support and alimony, and dividing assets and debts. If you are the respondent, your lawyer can help you gather bank records, tax returns, credit card statements, and other proofs of income.
Next, Florida has two avenues of divorce. The first avenue is called “uncontested”, and this method can be settled the quickest. However, this method also requires no dependent children, and no children currently in the womb. Finally, it does simply require both spouses to agree on the division of assets and debts. Your lawyer can assist you here to determine if this is the proper course, as it is a big decision. As if the uncontested divorce is picked, both spouses wave the right to future information or support.
If you do not qualify for an uncontested divorce, or both spouses do agree on the division of the marital property then the judge will hear both sides, and make a decision. In this method, your lawyer will have the ability to cross examine the other spouse, and request documents. This is why in the system of family law Florida the best call whether you are the petitioner or the respondent is don’t “go it alone”, and get a lawyer.