Divorce Law in Florida
How to Find a Florida Divorce Attorney
Have you heard native Floridian Tom Petty’s song, Echo? Some say it reflects his feelings as he went through a painful divorce.
The same sad echo when you walk
Yeah, the same sad echo when you talk loud and clear
It’s the same as the same sad echo around here
If you are considering divorce and are researching Florida divorce lawyers, you are likely sad, highly stressed, and unsure of how to proceed. If so, we wrote this article for you.
In this article (which is based upon Florida divorce law), we’ll discuss:
- Florida specific divorce law requirements;
- What you need to know about divorce;
- Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Florida divorce attorney;
- How to find and select a qualified lawyer; and
- How to prepare to work with your lawyer.
Florida Divorce Law Specifics
- Either you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least 6 months, immediately prior to the divorce filing.
- Florida law requires that grounds for divorce be stated when the divorce papers are filed. In Florida, the divorce grounds are that the marriage is irretrievably broken or one of the spouses has been adjudged mentally incapacitated.
- Divorce filings are made in the Circuit Court for the county where either you or your spouse resides.
- Property distribution will be equitable, which means, “fair”, not necessarily equal.
- Spousal support (i.e. alimony) may be awarded in some cases and child support in based upon the Income Shares Model.
What You Need to Know About Divorce
Here are 4 tips that will help you get through divorce with peace of mind and some money left in your pocket.
- You can control your legal fees; follow your attorney’s advice.
- Enter the divorce knowing that you will get some of what you want, but not all of what you want. Compromise is necessary.
- If you and your spouse can reach a marital agreement, you can avoid court. Going to court is a complete loss of control, further antagonizes all involved, and costs a lot of money.
- Do not use your divorce lawyer or children as a therapist. Everyone needs to talk and be listened to; meet with a therapist.
Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Florida Divorce Lawyer?
You have the legal right to represent yourself through a Florida divorce; you also have the legal right to perform your own brain surgery, but you likely wouldn’t try it.
- One mistake may cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.
- Even attorneys who go through divorce hire divorce lawyers.
If you give up any marital or parental rights during divorce, you may be forever barred from asserting them in Florida courts.
How to Find and Select a Florida Divorce Attorney
Everything is going online. You can do a virtual search for “How to Find a Pennsylvania Divorce Attorney” or ask friends and family for referrals.
Be sure to narrow down your selection by choosing attorneys who focus on divorce law (aka family law and matrimonial law).
It’s okay to have a conversation with potential divorce lawyers before making your selection. Ask questions, especially about how they approach the divorce negotiation process.
- A “shark” attorney will be overly aggressive and cause increased anger, stress, and fees. You’ll likely end up going to court.
- A collaborative attorney will work assertively, yet cooperatively, to get you more of what you want (at a lower fee).
How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney
Check each of these tasks off your list:
- Consider reconciliation. (Never move forward with divorce on anger alone. Anger dissolves with time.)
- Consult with a therapist to deal with the emotional aspects of divorce.
- Gather financial documents such as loan applications, financial statements, statements, bills, expenses, and income sources.
- Make a wish list of everything you would like in the divorce (like the wish list you make when shopping for a house). Decide which wish list items are “mandatory” and which are optional.
- Make a list of questions to address with your lawyer this week.