Divorce is a difficult, highly emotional process, especially when spouses are unable to agree and settle. If you’re faced with the possibility of a contested divorce, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure. Fortunately, an experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you deal with the process and see you through to the other side.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
Divorce involves many important decisions and legal matters. The way you and your spouse view these issues and topics dictates the type of divorce you’ll file. Contested and uncontested divorces have different requirements.
Uncontested divorces are typically easier to handle. In an uncontested divorce, spouses generally agree on all topics, and there is little to no contention. Spouses can work together to create a divorce agreement and submit it to the court for approval to formally end the marriage.
A contested divorce, on the other hand, is not as easy to navigate. Contested divorces are reserved for couples at odds on one or more issues. Because a contested divorce is a bit more contentious, the court is more heavily involved in order to reach a resolution.
In general, contested divorces take longer to conclude because more steps are involved.
How Does a Contested Divorce Work in the State of Florida?
To initiate a contested divorce, one party (the petitioner) must file their petition for divorce with the court. Once the petition is filed in court, the petitioner must serve the other spouse (the respondent) with copies. By law, the respondent spouse only has 20 days to file their response with the court.
After both parties have completed their filings, the divorce proceedings can commence. They start with the “discovery phase.” During this important phase, both parties can request and obtain crucial information to help their cases.
Parties may have the opportunity to go to mediation before trial. During mediation, a third-party mediator tries to foster a collaborative environment for spouses to discuss their issues and come to an agreement.
At any point before the trial, spouses can work together to reach a resolution. If this is possible, a trial can be avoided altogether. If not, a trial may be a necessary step to finalize the divorce.
Regardless of how you get to the end, either working together with your spouse or with the help of a judge, a final order is entered with the court solidifying all decisions made regarding necessary topics, including property division and alimony. Once this is done, your marriage is officially over.
Tips for Dealing With a Contested Divorce
Dealing with a contesting divorce can be challenging. However, knowing what you could expect and preparing beforehand can make all the difference in your experience.
Getting organized can mean something different to everyone. Still, it’s important to get organized in a general sense. For example, it’s helpful to start gathering all relevant and necessary documents as soon as possible.
Planning can help the process seem a little less chaotic.
Understand Your Finances
Finances play a large role in divorces. Therefore, having a better understanding of your financial situation can assist with money matters. Creating a budget, knowing how much you realistically need to cover your expenses, and determining whether you can afford it all on your own can paint a better picture.
You can’t do it all on your own. Make sure you have trusted individuals by your side when you need them most, whether it is your friends, family, or therapist. Having people you can lean on can alleviate much of the stress and pressure you’ll undoubtedly feel.
Hire an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney
Hiring a qualified divorce lawyer is arguably one of the most important steps you’ll take for your contested divorce. An attorney can use their knowledge, skills, and experience to guide you through the process, represent your best interests, and help get you the best possible outcome.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803