Tampa Divorce Lawyer
For most people, a divorce is an emotional, stressful time. Under these circumstances, it can be difficult to think rationally and make the best decisions regarding issues such as the custody of the children, the division of marital property, or the payment of support. Yet the decisions made in a divorce will have significant consequences now and years into the future. It’s essential to get quality, practical advice combined with strong, effective representation to make sure your divorce is handled properly with your needs in mind. The Faulkner Legal Group provides the right kind of advice and representation to protect your rights and promote your interests in a Florida divorce in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco or Polk County.
Tampa divorce lawyer David Faulkner is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and qualified Parenting Coordinator with decades of experience handling divorce and related issues in Florida. Call the Faulkner Law Group for the right kind of help if you are considering divorce or have been served with divorce papers by your spouse.
Divorce in Florida
To file for divorce, either spouse must first live in Florida for at least six months to establish residency. The filing spouse files a petition for divorce, alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken and requesting the court to dissolve the marriage and rule on certain matters related to the divorce. This is a no-fault divorce; no party needs to prove fault on the part of the other spouse to get a divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, abandonment or abuse. However, if factors like these are present, they may have an impact on matters such as alimony, the parenting plan, or the property division.
The filing spouse serves a copy on the other spouse, who files an answer in court admitting or denying the allegations in the petition. The other spouse may also file a counter-petition at this time, raising other issues the filing spouse might not have included. The parties complete a financial affidavit that discloses assets and debts. If the couple has minor children, they’ll complete a child support guidelines worksheet as well.
In addition to dissolving the marriage, the divorce process also involves settling important matters such as the equitable distribution of marital property, payment of alimony/spousal support, child custody and parental responsibility, and child support. If the parties can work out these issues together, they can create a marital settlement agreement and submit it to the court. The judge will review the agreement, and if it seems in order, the judge will make it an official part of the divorce. If the parties can’t agree, it’s up to the judge to decide these matters based on motions and hearings and the arguments and evidence submitted to the court through litigation.
Tampa family law attorney David Faulkner is a certified family law mediator and qualified parenting coordinator. The Faulkner Law Group can ably represent you and help you get the divorce you need. We can negotiate and mediate a detailed property settlement agreement and parenting plan that address all issues and meets the needs of both parties while ensuring your rights are protected, and you are treated fairly. If an amicable result can’t be reached, David Faulkner is a skilled and experienced courtroom litigator who can ably represent you if your case requires a trial to resolve the issues in your divorce.
Florida divorce terms to know
Contested divorce – The parties disagree over one or more issues in the divorce, such as parenting and time-sharing, the division of marital property and debts, or the payment of alimony or child support. The parties litigate contested issues in court, and the judge decides how these issues will be handled.
Uncontested divorce – The parties agree on all the outstanding issues. With the help of an attorney or mediator, they create a marital settlement agreement that reflects their understanding. The judge reviews the document and grants the divorce accordingly.
Simplified dissolution of marriage – When the divorce is uncontested, there aren’t any minor children and the wife isn’t pregnant, and neither party is seeking alimony, the parties can use a simplified filing process that takes about a month to complete.
Equitable distribution – The parties or the court will divide the couple’s marital property, including all assets and debts acquired by either party during the marriage, except for gifts or inheritance made to one spouse individually. The law requires the property to be divided equitably but not necessarily equally. A number of factors go into deciding a fair division of property. The Faulkner Law Group can help you craft a property settlement agreement or argue in court for a property division that meets your needs and interests in the property that is most important to you.
Alimony – Also known as spousal support or maintenance, one party can be ordered to pay alimony to the other for a period of time after the divorce. Alimony may be directed toward helping an ex-spouse transition from married life to single life, meet specific goals to become self-supporting, or maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. Alimony may be ordered for a specific duration or indefinitely.
Child custody and visitation – These matters are known in Florida as parental responsibility and time-sharing. The parties or the court will develop a detailed parenting plan and time-sharing schedule that covers all aspects of the physical and legal aspects of custody, including where and when the children will live with each parent, and how decisions regarding the children’s education, healthcare, religious upbringing and other child-rearing matters will be made.
Child support – Each parent is required by law to support their children financially. The Florida child support guidelines use a detailed formula to come up with a monthly amount of support one parent will have to pay to the other until the child comes of age or graduates high school. Child support may be ordered for longer times if the child has special needs, and the judge can deviate from the guidelines if convinced by one or both parents that a deviation would be appropriate.
The Faulkner Law Group is Here to Guide You Through Your Tampa Divorce
Tampa divorce lawyer David Faulkner handles the full range of pre-marital, dissolution and post-divorce issues in Hillsborough, Pinellas and surrounding counties. Count on the Faulkner Law Group for help with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, mediation, and post-judgment modification or enforcement of court orders regarding custody or support. Call the Faulkner Law Group at 813-544-3919 to discuss your needs.