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With Us, Your Divorce Matters. You Matter.

The end of a marriage is painful, challenging and full of questions – but it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and change. While you likely did not come to this decision without plenty of introspection and tears, now that you’ve decided to move forward, it’s important to do so in a thoughtful and dignified way that protects your rights.

That is how our team approaches every single divorce case. At Darla K. Snead, P.L. Attorney at Law we understand the complicated and painful emotions at play, and we know that getting through this time is much easier with the right support. No matter what the circumstances of your divorce are or what your priorities are as you leave your marriage, we’ll work tirelessly to help you create the fresh new start you deserve. We help clients in Polk, Hardee, Highlands and Hillsborough counties.

Three Types Of Divorce In Florida

As you begin the process of filing for divorce, you will need to think about which type of dissolution is most suitable for your situation. There are three options to consider:

  1. Simplified dissolution. Choosing a simplified dissolution saves time and often costs less. However, you must meet specific requirements to file. The couple must have no minor children, the wife must not be pregnant when the divorce case is filed, and the parties must submit financial affidavits and draft a property settlement agreement. Neither party can seek alimony, and both parties must attend the final hearing. After attending the final divorce hearing, the couple is officially divorced.
  2. Uncontested divorce. In many cases, both parties agree that the marriage should end and they are able to reach an agreement between themselves. If the couple is able to agree upon allocation of debt, division of assets, alimony and all issues regarding their minor children, an attorney can compile this information into a marital settlement agreement. The parties will also be required to file a financial affidavit. The attorney will also prepare a parenting plan regarding the children and prepare child support guidelines. The party filing, the petitioner, is required to attend the final divorce hearing. The attorney will prepare the final judgment, granting the dissolution of marriage based upon the parties’ agreement, which the judge will typically sign at the hearing.
  3. Contested divorce. A contested divorce is where a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and the other party is served with the divorce papers. The spouse will then have 20 days to file an answer or response to the petition. In these situations, the parties cannot come to a mutual agreement on one or more aspects of the divorce at the beginning of the case. This does not mean that it has to be a nasty fight like the legal dramas you see on television or the movies. Although some cases proceed to trial and are decided by a judge, most are not. All contested cases are required to go through mediation. A mediator is a neutral third party who acts as a facilitator and attempts to help the parties come to an agreement. A mediator cannot give the parties legal advice or advocate for one party. That is why it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side, so you do not give up important legal rights and to ensure that you are treated fairly. If a case does not settle at mediation, the case will proceed toward trial, which will then be heard by a judge. The judge then decides all of the issues in the divorce.

You may think that a contested divorce trial is your only option if you have a spouse who is unwilling to compromise. However, this is a very risky choice, as it involves putting every major decision related to your divorce in the hands of a judge. Before you get to that point – and preferably as soon as possible – hire an experienced local divorce attorney. When both sides have their own legal representation, it is generally easier to reach an agreement that does not put your future in a judge’s control.

Plan Ahead For Difficult Conversations

Divorce does not have to be about screaming matches and passive-aggressive snipes, but it will be emotionally challenging and mentally tiring. When you meet with your divorce lawyer, being honest about what you want from the divorce and what you expect from your ex-partner will make it much easier to plan for the journey ahead. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you may find that asset division is the hardest issue to discuss without fighting. For couples with minor children, issues of custody/time-sharing and child support are among the most explosive. Keep reading to learn more about the issues that commonly arise during divorce negotiations.

Time-Sharing And Child Support

If you have minor children, the thought of losing time with your children may put you into fight-or-flight mode. In most cases, the court will seek to have both parents active in the child’s life. Time-sharing will influence child support decisions.

Support is awarded based on how a child’s time is split, how much each party earns, any unusual expenses required for the child’s care and each parent’s ability to work.

How To Choose A Lakeland Divorce Attorney

Many people wonder if they truly need a divorce attorney, especially if their ex-partner agrees with them on important topics like custody and division of assets.

  • Even if the divorce is amicable, it is highly recommended that both parties have their own representation. This ensures that neither party unintentionally loses assets or takes on debt it doesn’t want, and it also ensures that neither party gives away more parenting time than intended.
  • If you are trying to “give up more” during the divorce process just to keep the peace with an ex-partner, you should discuss your needs with an attorney and find a solution that doesn’t involve hindering your future.
  • Your attorney will also help you with the massive pile of paperwork that comes with any divorce. Filling out paperwork accurately and promptly is essential since missing deadlines or providing inaccurate information can cause your case to get thrown out, costing you more when you are forced to refile.

Remember, during the divorce process you still have to work, take care of children and meet other obligations. Working with an attorney takes a substantial amount of divorce stress off your shoulders.

Let Darla K. Snead, P.L. Attorney at Law, Handle Your Divorce Needs

We bring empathy and a careful hand to every case we take on. We will truly take the time needed to listen to your concerns and goals, then work with you to develop a plan that addresses these needs. With decades of experience, we are in a position to negotiate these matters expertly and preserve the co-parenting relationship between you and your ex-partner. If you’re ready to get started, call our office at 863-869-0245 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to standing with you during this challenging time.