Considering a Divorce in Florida, What Can You Do?
Here’s where you can start and what comes next.
First and foremost you and your spouse need to try all avenues, including counseling, to try to reconcile and keep your marriage intact. However, when you have definitely decided to seek a dissolution of marriage (this is the legal term now used for the word “divorce”), what comes next? This blog will focus on Florida, remembering each state has different guidelines and laws regarding divorce.
In Florida it is possible to go to the courthouse and pay for, fill out, and file your own paperwork to begin the legal process for dissolution of marriage. Beware though, unless you and your spouse agree on all points of division, have no minor children, and your dissolution will be uncontested, it is highly unwise to avoid using an attorney. An experienced Family Law Attorney who has practiced in the state of Florida a number of years is your best resource to steer you safely through the process of dissolution of marriage.
One such attorney is Grant Gisondo PA who has practiced family law in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Broward, Miami-Dade, Hillisborough, and Orange counties for over ten years. In a recent radio interview by Max Linley on his show “More Than Money” on radio station 900 AM, Talk of the Palm Beaches, attorney Gisondo walks through a typical Florida Dissolution of Marriage. Here is an overview of what was said:
You first would meet with Attorney Gisondo in his office for a free, initial consultation, which would include sharing with you how he would personally guide you through the difficult and stressful time ahead. Mr. Gisondo works on a retainer, which would be explained. If, at this point, you decide to proceed with your dissolution of marriage, you would begin to collect and provide personal information. A petition for Dissolution of Marriage would be filed in the local county you reside in and the other party would be served and have 20 days to file an answer to your petition.
While you are waiting for the answer to your petition you will be filling out documents for mandatory disclosure, which will give a financial picture of the entire situation called a financial affidavit. You will need to disclose, with proof, information including debts, credit cards, checking and savings accounts, and retirement accounts.
The next step is to attend mediation where a third party will help try to put together an agreement satisfactory to both parties. Usually each party must make sacrifices and compromise is the key word. Both parties attend mediation with their attorney. A mediation agreement is voluntary, not an arbitration, so neither party has to agree. They are entitled to a court trial if they are too far apart on issues. Frequently, however, it is necessary to make a temporary agreement for the duration of the case in order to set temporary child support, spousal support, parental time sharing including overnights, some equitable distribution, and who stays in and who leaves the family dwelling. If the parties are too far apart and can’t make a temporary agreement, a temporary relief hearing before the judge, usually lasting 30 minutes, 15 minutes for each side, is held, basically to establish some temporary rules for both parties.
While waiting for a trial date there will be more discovery as well as depositions. The judge will usually want you to try a second mediation for a global resolution. If this fails, there will follow a courtroom trial with the judge making the final decisions regarding your dissolution of marriage.
To schedule a free consultation with Attorney Grant Gisondo call now at (561) 713-1400.