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Jacksonville Contested Divorce Attorney

Required Agreements for Dissolving a Marriage

If your divorce is contested you will require the services of a skilled lawyer. It is more than likely that your case will have to go to court if you cannot come to terms with your spouse regarding important matters surrounding the dissolution of your marriage. If that is the case, a judge will make the final decisions for you and your spouse.

Mediation may result in final agreements between parties regarding such issues as:

Ideally, a settlement can be reached that is positive for both spouses. If you have children, it is understood that their best interests are your main concern. An uncontested divorce requires a lot less time and money and generates much less emotional strain and upheaval for the entire family.

How Does a Contested Divorce Work?

If two spouses disagree on any aspect of their divorce, they must file for a contested divorce.

In a contested divorce, the spouse who files for divorce is the petitioner, while the other spouse acts as the respondent.

Generally, the process of filing for a contested divorce in Florida looks something like this:

  • The petitioner files an Original Petition for Divorce with their county court. This document contains the petitioner's reasons for the divorce and their proposed terms for the divorce.
  • The petitioner must then serve the respondent with a notice of the divorce through a third-party individual such as a process server or sheriff.
  • The respondent can then file a response with the court detailing their disagreements with the petitioner and their own proposed terms for the divorce.
  • The parties must disclose all separate and marital property they own to each other and the court.
  • At this stage, the judge can issue temporary orders for issues such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony. Temporary orders determine how parties handle these processes while the divorce is ongoing.
  • Finally, the court will hold a trial. The parties both have an opportunity to present evidence for their case and against the other party to the court. After hearing arguments from both sides, the court will determine an equitable outcome for the divorce and draft a decree finalizing those terms.

How Long Will My Contested Divorce Take? How Much Could It Cost?

The length of your contested divorce largely depends on the circumstances surrounding it.

If you and your partner have valuable marital assets or disagree strongly on elements of the divorce, it could potentially take a year or more to dissolve your marriage.

Alternatively, if you negotiate terms for the divorce both parties are happy with, you can transition into an uncontested divorce and resolve the case more quickly.

The cost of a contested divorce also varies on a case-by-case basis. As a general rule of thumb, the more time you spend in the courtroom and the more factors that play into your divorce, the longer it will take.

For example, if the parties own a significant number of valuable assets and need to hire individuals such as forensic accountants and asset valuation specialists to help them navigate property division, their divorce could take longer and cost more than the average contested divorce.

How Can I Transition into an Uncontested Divorce?

Couples who wish to move from a contested divorce to an uncontested divorce often use a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to help them do so. Some popular forms of ADR include:

  • Mediation. In a mediation, both parties have one or a series of meetings with a mediator, who acts as a liaison between the parties. The mediator cannot offer legal advice - the parties must hire a mediation attorney to obtain counsel.
  • Collaborative law. When couples agree to use collaborative law, they each hire a collaborative law attorney to represent them. The parties and their attorneys then hold a series of meetings to negotiate terms for processes such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony.

Regardless of which form of ADR you use, the end goal is the same. The parties should aim to agree on terms for their divorce, at which point they (with the help of a mediator and/or their attorneys) can draft a divorce agreement.

If a court approves the agreement, the judge will sign it and finalize the divorce.

Our Jacksonville contested divorce lawyers can help you find the best path forward in your divorce.

Successfully Resolve Your Divorce with Our Help

It is understandable that there are times when agreements cannot be made regarding such emotionally charged subjects as children and finances. The pending decisions are of paramount importance and will affect you for many years to come. At the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we are not only well versed in family law, but also have extensive trial experience. Our goal is to see to it that your rights are upheld and that the outcome of your dissolution is positive for you.

Trust Our Successful Record

Our success in the field of divorce law gives us the upper hand. We will thoroughly examine all aspects of your case so that we can devise an effective strategy for your unique circumstances. Hiring an inexperienced attorney can be disastrous. We strongly urge you to seek the advice of a proven divorce lawyer.

In the event that your divorce has been contested, contact an attorney from the law offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. who can give you the assistance that you need.

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