Lakeland Contested & Uncontested Divorce Attorney
Divorces can be contested or uncontested; the difference is whether the parties can get together and decide how to resolve all the outstanding issues in their divorce with or without formal court intervention. Either way is okay and will have its ups and downs, but even a contested divorce does not have to be a bitter battle. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, the family law attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L. can help you resolve the issues important to you in a way that protects your rights and meets your needs. Darla K. Snead has prior experience prosecuting and defending criminal and civil cases and is well-versed in all forms of negotiation, mediation and litigation, so whatever your case requires, Darla K. Snead, P.L., is the law firm for you. Contact our experienced Lakeland contested & uncontested divorce attorney today.
Uncontested Divorce Process in Florida
A divorce is uncontested when the parties agree on all issues applicable in their divorce, such as how to divide marital assets and liabilities and whether one party will pay spousal support (alimony) to the other. If the couple shares minor children together, they must also agree on child custody (parenting and timesharing) and child support.
In an uncontested divorce, one party will file a petition for divorce with the court and serve a copy of the petition on the other spouse. The other spouse will file an answer that agrees with the petition or file an answer and waiver. If the parties have complied with all mandatory disclosures and filed all required papers, the court will set a final hearing to grant the divorce.
Before the petition is ever filed though, the parties must have come together and decided the divorce will be uncontested. Darla K. Snead, P.L., can help the parties draft a marital settlement agreement that divides marital property and addresses any other issues. Sometimes couples start out in agreement about the divorce but part ways when it comes to ironing out the complicated details of dividing property and deciding custody and support. As an experienced divorce mediator, Darla K. Snead helps couples stay on track so their uncontested divorce stays uncontested. Collaborative results are often the best results, and our Lakeland family law firm can help you get there.
Florida Contested Divorce Process
In a contested divorce, one party files the petition for dissolution of marriage, stating the grounds for divorce and requesting the court to grant certain relief in the divorce judgment. The other spouse files an answer or answer and counterpetition that disagrees with or denies one or more allegations made in the petition within 20 days. If the other party filed a counterpetition, the original filing party has 20 days to answer that counterpetition and admit or deny the allegations made there.
After filing all mandatory disclosures and required papers, the parties still have an opportunity to settle their disputes. They can enter mediation to work out their differences if they desire, and in some counties, including Polk, Hardee, Highlands and Hillsborough counties, mediation is required by the Circuit Court before the case can go to trial. If the parties are unable to settle their differences, a trial date will be set. Each party will present evidence and make legal arguments in court, and the judge will decide the issues such as property division, custody and support.
At Darla K. Snead, P.L., we have abundant experience in pre-trial conflict resolution as well as all phases of civil litigation, including trials. We’ll continue to work to resolve the contested issues in your divorce in the most efficient and effectual way, including providing able and effective representation in court when necessary.
Florida law also provides a procedure for a particular type of uncontested divorce, known as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage With No Dependent or Minor Child(ren) or Property. This simplified process includes filing a petition and completing a form that is signed before a notary public or deputy clerk and filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the petitioner lives. The other spouse is notified through personal service or constructive service. Your attorney can e-file your papers or you can file them in person.
By filing for simplified dissolution, you waive your right to ask questions or get documents through financial disclosure, and you waive your right to appeal or reconsider the judge’s decision. Talk to your attorney to determine whether simplified dissolution is right for you.
Simplified dissolution of a Florida divorce is available if the following criteria are met:
- There are no marital assets or marital liabilities to divide
- The couple does not have any minor or dependent children
- Neither spouse is seeking spousal support (alimony)
- Neither spouse is pregnant
- At least one party has lived in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce
- The parties agree on all issues in their divorce
- Both parties can attend a hearing in court to finalize the divorce
Contact Darla K. Snead, P.L. Today
For help with a contested or uncontested divorce or simplified dissolution in Polk County, Darla K. Snead, P.L., can provide you with the right level of assistance to meet your needs and achieve your goals. Call our experienced Lakeland contested and uncontested divorce lawyer today.