A divorce case may concern many issues including parental responsibility, time-sharing (visitation), child support, and equitable distribution of marital property and marital debts. Our West Palm Beach divorce attorneys patiently take the time to educate you concerning your legal issues so that you are fully aware of your legal rights.
There is no common law right to divorce, "dissolution of marriage" in Florida. Florida has enacted a no fault dissolution of marriage statute. This means that it is not necessary to show fault on the part of one of the parties. There are only two grounds for dissolution of marriage in Florida.
- The marriage is irretrievably broken.
- One of the spouses is mentally incapacitated.
An experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney must understand the complexity of a Florida divorce to explain the grounds for dissolution of marriage.
A marriage is irretrievably broken when the parties can no longer live together because their difficulties are so deep and substantial that no reasonable effort could eradicate them and enable the parties to live together in a normal marital relationship.
One of the parties, the petitioner or the respondent must reside in the State of Florida for six months before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and have the intent to remain a resident of the State of Florida at the time of filing. Either party may be a resident in order to fulfill the residence requirements. A resident of Florida may bring a dissolution of marriage action against a non resident. Residence in Florida means actual presence in Florida coupled with the intent to make Florida the place of residence.
If the resident petitioner moves after filing the petition, the residence requirement may still be satisfied. The steps in a Divorce case are as follows:
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed and served on the other party with a summons. The other party must respond in writing to the Petition within 20 days of its receipt. Both parties must comply with mandatory financial disclosure including the filing of a family law financial affidavit. Both parties must attend mediation to attempt in good faith to settle the case if possible.
Depending on the complexity of the case, experts may be retained such as forensic accountants or appraisers. Additionally, discovery may be conducted to flesh out the financial picture of the parties. If the case is settled, a marital settlement agreement would be drafted along with a parenting plan if there are minor children. If the case is not settled it would go before the court in a contested hearing referred to as the trial. At the conclusion of the Trial, the court would issue a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage containing all of the factual and legal issues in the case.
Please call an experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney at (561) 833-2772 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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