South Tampa Divorce Attorney
More than 30 years of experience helping families overcome the difficult challenges in the divorce process
The decision to end a marriage is rarely an easy one and often comes with significant emotional and financial stress. There are usually several steps you must go through when seeking a divorce and the legal system can be a confusing and intimidating entity. Most divorces involve issues concerning property division, alimony, child support, child custody and visitation. At the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., I strive to provide the legal guidance and support you need from beginning to end.
No two divorces are ever exactly alike, but what all divorces do have in common is that their outcomes are vitally important to the family involved. The terms of your divorce are likely to play a pivotal role in you and your children’s post-divorce lives, which means they’re too important not to retain the professional legal counsel of a dedicated Tampa family law attorney.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Florida?
In Florida, a divorce, often referred to as dissolution of marriage, may be obtained if specific criteria are met. Residency and filing requirements mandate that one of the parties must reside in the state of Florida for at least six months prior to filing a petition for dissolution. The petition may be filed in the county of residence of either or both parties. Some states utilize fault-based grounds for divorce such as adultery, drug abuse and addiction or living separate and apart for a specified period of time. Florida, however, is a no-fault divorce state and the grounds for divorce are simply:
- An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or
- Mental incapacity of one of the parties for a period of at least three years immediately preceding the filing of a petition.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in Florida?
After a petition for dissolution is filed, the petition must be served upon the respondent. The respondent then has 20 days to file an answer. If the parties are able to reach an agreement concerning all issues such as property division, spousal support and child custody and support arrangements, they may enter into a written agreement. If the court accepts the parties’ agreement, a judgment of divorce may be entered within a matter of weeks. Uncontested divorces such can save you time and money and are much less stressful than contested court battles. Contested divorces may take several months and in the event that the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court will make a final judgment.
How is Property Divided in A Divorce?
Protecting your rights while establishing practical and fair terms you can live with is our primary goal
Florida is an equitable division state. This means that property and assets must be distributed in a fair and equitable manner though not necessarily equal. As stated above, if the parties agree to an equitable division of assets, an uncontested divorce may be obtained in a reasonable amount of time. Conversely, contested divorces involve lengthy mediation sessions and multiple court hearings. If the parties are unable to reach a mutually agreed upon arrangement, the court enters a final judgment after considering numerous factors including:
- Each spouse’s contribution to all aspects of the marriage,
- The length of the marriage and
- Each spouse’s contributions to the household income and personal career and educational opportunities of the other spouse.
Is Alimony or Spousal Support Mandatory in Florida?
Many people mistakenly believe that spousal support is automatically awarded in any divorce case. However, the decision to award spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is left to the court’s discretion and is decided on a case-by-case basis. Alimony may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis and may be granted to either party. The court may order a lump sum or require the paying spouse to make periodic payments. Temporary spousal support is usually rehabilitative in nature and is designed to provide the party receiving payments the opportunity to obtain the training or education necessary to obtain gainful employment.
What Happens to the Children in a Divorce?
What to expect during the divorce process in Florida if you have children
Divorces for couples with children involve separate legal hurdles in addition to the standard issues of alimony and property division. The primary consideration when determining appropriate child custody and support arrangements is to do what is in the best interests of the child. The court analyzes several factors each spouse’s financial status, willingness to communicate and cooperate with each other and the potential impact on the child. It is vital that you seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your family is protected and receives the best possible outcome.
Rely on a trusted South Tampa divorce attorney to provide the legal knowledge and support you need
The process of obtaining a divorce doesn’t have to be unnecessarily stressful and costly. Trust South Tampa divorce attorney Mark G. Rodriguez of The Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A. to guide you and your family through the process with compassion. Attorney Rodriguez is committed to making the process as seamless and stress-free as possible. Flexible office hours are available for your convenience and your initial consultation is free. Call (813) 227-9642 or contact me online to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.