Even though couples get married with the belief that their marriage will last forever, circumstances arise later on and some of those couples want a divorce. While there are many reasons for filing for a divorce, Florida is a No Fault state. This means that divorces are granted because there are irreconcilable differences. This term also has implications on how assets and liabilities are distributed but we will talk about that in a minute.
William S. Orth is an aggressive trial attorney who will fight for your rights whether it involves assets, liabilities or time-sharing and child support involving your children.
Divorces can either be uncontested or contested. What category your situation fits has more to do with what agreements you and your spouse have before the filing of a Petition than anything else. For couples who are in complete agreement on how assets and liabilities are to be distributed as well as issues regarding minor children (if applicable) they can pursue an uncontested divorce and it may be finalized within 30-60 days. Others fall into the contested category meaning there is disagreement on asset and liability distribution or issues with minor children. Those cases may come to an agreement later on but not after I advocate on your behalf through court pleadings and possible hearings.
Once the initial Petition is filed, there are certain statutory prescribed timeframes for Answers and Counter-Petitions. Cases then enter the discovery phase that encompasses Mandatory Disclosure. This is the document gathering stage where you need to collect documents you have in your possession or readily accessible to you. Examples include old tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. Once this is complete, mediation is set up. If your case is uncontested, you may waive this document gathering stage. All the law requires is that you file and exchange financial affidavits and complete a Parenting Class if minor children are involved.
As I stated earlier, No Fault also deals with how assets and liabilities are distributed. In the State of Florida, all assets and liabilities are split evenly, or 50-50, unless a Judge finds reason for an inequitable distribution. Prior to the law change in October of 2008, Special Equity existed to allow a person to claim more than 50% of an asset or to claim less than 50% responsibility for a liability. The concept is the same except we may ask for an inequitable distribution rather than pleading Special Equity. You can ask for an inequitable distribution for many reasons, some of which may be tied to why the marriage is ending in the first place. Maybe your spouse had an affair and spent marital money on this affair. That may be reason enough for you to ask for an inequitable distribution.
Throughout the pre-trial stage of Divorce, Paternity or other Family Law litigation you may be able to request that the Court order the other party to pay all or a portion of your legal fees. Contact me at the Law Offices of William S. Orth, P.A. to discuss this topic.