Divorce is usually something a person does not think about as a possibility for them. Sure, everyone has friends and family who are divorced, but no one goes into a marriage thinking that they might end up in divorce court.
But things happen in life – and in marriage – for which there is no plan. That is where a skilled, compassionate Florida family lawyer comes in. Seek an attorney who is highly qualified based on their legal knowledge, certifications, experience in and out of the courtroom, recommendations from others and positive client reviews.
Your relationship with your divorce lawyer
But there is another key factor. You should feel a connection with your legal counsel, a feeling that you can rely on and trust this person to advocate for your best interests. That you can tell them personal information that they will hold confidential and refrain from judgment, loyal to you where you are at right now. So, when you interview potential divorce lawyers, keep in mind that not only must they be eminently qualified for the job, but also should give you a feeling from them of loyalty, that they will advocate fiercely for you.
Once you find your divorce lawyer, you should make a list that you can revise as you go of the top questions you have for them. You have the right to understand what is to come in the process of dissolving a marriage in Florida. A detailed grasp of the process helps to lessen stress and increase your ability to partner with your attorney in setting the direction you will follow.
How long will the process of divorce take?
This varies widely depending on the circumstances. Florida statute says at least 20 days must pass after the petition for divorce is filed or sooner if an “injustice” would occur. If there are no minor children, the parties can agree on dividing debt and property, and neither will ask for alimony from the other, a simplified divorce can take about a month or more.
Otherwise, the time can vary widely – from months to years. Factors that impact length include whether the parties can negotiate a settlement (and how long it takes to hammer out all the issues) and avoid a trial, whether the parties own complex or voluminous assets, whether there are disagreements over child custody, whether there is conflict over whether one party has hidden or squandered assets (requiring investigation), whether any medical or psychological evaluations are needed and many others.
Your attorney can help you make decisions that will impact the length of time it will take.
In part 2 of this post, we will address other top questions for your divorce attorney.