Board-Certified Divorce Lawyer in Jacksonville
Over 30 Years of Experience Guiding Clients Through Divorce
As an experienced divorce attorney in Jacksonville, I can relieve you of the stress and burdens that accompany your divorce case. Divorce in Florida has specific steps and laws that must be followed and I can help inform you of these legal regulations.
Why Hire My Law Firm?
- Backed by Nearly 30 Years Of Experience
- Board Certified in Marital & Family Law
- Certified Family Law Mediator
- BV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Elected as Chairman of Jax Bar Family Law Section 2003-2010
The topic of divorce is no longer one that is shunned or looked down upon. It is still, however, an all-consuming and difficult procedure that can break apart even the strongest of families. It is important to take into account all elements and proceed with caution. Every maneuver to navigate the process can affect the outcome of the divorce.
Have you already filed for divorce, but are having second thoughts? You may be interested in reading our blog, "Can I Put My Divorce on Hold if I've Already Filed?"
What Should I Consider Before Filing for Divorce in Florida?
Filing for divorce is a major, life-changing legal action. By taking certain elements into consideration ahead of time, the couple may be able to have a more practical approach to divorce, and come to a settlement without the need for litigation.
One of the first things to evaluate when filing for divorce is the current state of your finances, both assets and liabilities. By knowing exactly where the individual and joint finances stand, you will be able to get a better understanding on the costs involved in maintaining separate households.
- Will each party be responsible for their own finances following the divorce or will one party be required to pay support?
- How will assets and debts be divided?
- If one spouse left work to care for the children, what will be required to get that spouse back into the workforce so he or she can earn the income needed to meet the household budget?
- Will alimony and/or child support payments need to be made to maintain the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage?
- Who will get the family home, if anyone?
- Will it be sold or will one party retain ownership?
For couples who have children from the marriage, you will also need to take into consideration what living arrangement will be most beneficial to the children.
- Will the parents in the same area so the children do not need to change schools, be distant from family, friends and activities?
- What parenting plan will cause the least disruption to the children's routine, while still allowing them to have regular access to both parents?
- How will matters pertaining to education, health, religion, and overall upbringing be resolved?
With so many points to consider in filing for divorce, and state law regarding parenting, child support, spousal support and property division, it is in your best interest to consult with a skilled attorney if you are considering filing for divorce.
What Is the Divorce Process in Florida?
If you are considering divorce, there are a few considerations to be made. I can walk with you through this process, as there are several steps and requirements to consider.
- The first of these requirements for divorce in Florida demand that at least one member has to be a resident of the state or a member of the armed forces who is stationed in the state.
- If both spouses agree that there are irreconcilable differences that warrant the dissolution of marriage, the process can begin.
- The divorce officially begins when a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed.
- When one spouse files a divorce petition, they are required to ensure that the divorce petition is delivered to his or her spouse via a process server.
- The other spouse is then required by law to respond to or answer the petition within 20 days from the service of process date.
Elements of a Divorce in Florida
Many other factors will have to be discussed including the timing of filing bankruptcy and divorce (where applicable). Alimony will be decided based on the standard of living of the couple during marriage, the length of their marriage and the health conditions of each member. Child custody and child support are also two important topics that will have to be discussed. If the divorcing couple cannot come to a mutual agreement on these two factors, the court will take into consideration other factors and take the decision making into his or her own hands.
What If My Spouse Doesn't Respond to the Divorce Petition?
In cases where the other spouse cannot be located, or he or she fails to respond, there are actions which can be taken that will allow the Judge to move forward to conduct a hearing on the case without the other spouse's presence or direct consent:
- Divorce by Default – If the other spouse does not respond to your divorce petition in time, then your divorce may move forward by default.
- Divorce by Publication – If you have exhausted every resource and cannot contact or locate your spouse, then you can file an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry, proving to a judge that you truly could not locate or serve the divorce papers to your spouse. Then, you can complete a Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage and publish it once per week for 4 consecutive weeks in an approved newspaper. If your spouse still does not come forward, then your divorce can move forward without them.
Contact Charles E. Willmott, P.A.
My office can help you through the divorce process. At Charles E. Willmott, P.A., I know the documents you will need and can help you determine your household budget. I am prepared to discuss how a divorce will alter other factors, such as your taxes and marital debts. These are important factors that must be closely examined.
If you require assistance during this time, my firm can help safeguard your rights. Call (904) 849-5183 today to schedule your free consultation. We offer remote video & Zoom conferences as well.