40+ Years of Combined Legal Experience
It is no secret that divorce has the potential to get ugly and for emotions to run high. Sometimes it is simply not possible for two spouses to calmly address important issues, or find common ground on a mutually agreeable settlement. In such cases, they will need a contested divorce to resolve any issues they cannot resolve through negotiations.
Florida Contested Divorce Procedures
Contested divorces are not just for spouses who cannot agree on anything. If you agree on child custody, but disagree on spousal support, this is still considered a contested divorce.
Petition and Service
For a contested divorce, one would file with the circuit court, after which a court clerk would issue a summons directing the sheriff or a private process server to deliver the petition to the other spouse. That spouse will have 20 days to answer the petition by filing his or her own pleadings.
For contested divorces, Florida requires a “mandatory disclosure,” which involves both spouses completing a financial affidavit, detailing budget, income, assets and debts. If children are involved, a lot of the same information will need to be provided on a mandatory child support worksheet. Spouses must exchange copes within 45 days after a spouse receives a petition for dissolution.
Motion for Temporary Relief
There are often pressing issues, such as child support or alimony, that cannot wait for a divorce to be finalized, many of which might be the reason why a divorce is contested. One or both spouses may file a motion for temporary relief, asking the judge to address any urgent matters. The orders will last until the divorce is finalized.
Knowing all the facts of a case is crucial for judges to rule on an issue, which is why the discovery process is an important step in this type of divorce. While spouses do not have to issue discovery request, if one chooses to do so, the other must comply. A discovery may include subpoenas issued to financial institutions for documentation, or interrogatories and depositions during which spouses must answer questions under oath.
Some counties in Florida require couples to attend mediation before a judge rules on any unresolved issues. This can be accomplished by either hiring a third party attorney or through the court, for those who cannot afford it.
Most contested cases do not end up going to trial. However, if mediation fails, the court will set a date for your trial.
Compassionate & Experienced Counsel in Jacksonville
Divorce, even in the most amicable cases, is not easy. At Florida Women’s Law Group, we advocate for women in the divorce process and are here to guide and empower you throughout this emotionally taxing process. Our skilled legal team has over 40 years of combined legal experience, which we will put to work for you through a specialized approach that serves your needs and best interests.
Our Jacksonville divorce lawyers will continue to be there for you even after your divorce is finalized. From military divorce, child custody and support, and alimony to matters of domestic violence, enforcement, and relocation, we are committed to standing by your side. With us, you can rest assured that your questions will be answered and your concerns will be addressed. Pease do not hesitate to discover how we can provide the trusted representation you deserve to start a new, vibrant, and fulfilling life.