In Florida, a divorce is called a dissolution of marriage, and that process can be contested or not.

The process covers many details that range from the division of debt and assets to financial support, spousal support, and child support if the parties have children.

If the parties have children, the Florida Family Court requires a parenting plan which addresses their ability to make health and educational decisions for the children; what days of the week the children are with each parent; and who is paying for expenses for the children, such as medical care and child care.

The steps involved in a contested divorce are as follows.

1. Legal Representation

You will need a divorce attorney who is well-versed in the contested dissolution of marriage. Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to ending marriages. If one partner of the marriage files for divorce, the other cannot stop the process. A good lawyer is your first order of business.

2. Filing for Divorce

Your Lawyer or your partner’s lawyer will file the Dissolution of Marriage Papers with the Family Law Court.

3. The Discovery Process

During the dissolution of the marriage process, certain obligations must be decided both temporarily and permanently. Those sorts of details include spousal support, child support, child custody, and the division of assets and debt.

During the Discovery process, the each party will be required to provide financial records, lists of property and debts, and any records that may be relevant to the children.

4. Mediation

Usually contested divorces or dissolution of marriages are settled in mediation rather than a judge making the decision. Both parties will attend mediation, and sometimes more than one mediation is necessary to settle all issues in a divorce case. A mediator is not a decision maker, but a neutral third party that helps the parties come to a consensus all issues.   Mediation allows the parties to work out the details of the end of their marriage, the financial aspects, and all matters related to children including custody and child support.

5. Trial for Dissolution of Marriage

If a consensus cannot be reached through mediation, the process moves to trial. During the trial, the judge will review the case and decide all issues based on the documents available, the testimony of the parties, and any witnesses the parties have testify on their behalf.

Step one is critically important. You will most likely need a lawyer to help you, even in mediation. Family law lawyers understand the entire process for the dissolution of marriage. They know how to fill out the correct documents, and how to ask for the correct financial information and other information to make the divorce process fair.

Contact Vanstone Law With Your Divorce Questions

Do you need a family law lawyer for your Dissolution of Marriage? Most likely, both parties in the divorce will need their own lawyer. For comprehensive legal help during your divorce reach out to the legal team at Vanstone Law. We are your client focused, delivery driven family law firm.