Family Law

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Not only does a family law case present various complexities, but it is also arguably one of the most emotional areas of the law. Family law encompasses several areas, including divorce, spousal support or alimony, asset protection, child custody and timeshare, and child support.

A family law case surrounds couples and, often, children. As such, family law cases can often be complicated and emotionally charged. It is crucial to have an expert in family law you can trust to represent your best interests aggressively and provide skilled and compassionate legal support for the best outcome with your divorce settlement agreement or property settlement agreement Florida.

Many people may not realize how complicated family law issues or Florida family court can be until they are involved with such an issue themselves. It often takes the assistance of an experienced and knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale, Florida, family law attorney. An expert in divorce in Florida, alimony, and family law will aggressively represent your interests and help resolve these challenging issues, either inside or outside the courtroom. Welcome to ZAGERLAW, P.A.!

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Preparing for a Divorce

Organize all your documents. Have a financial affidavit ready and filled out (see below). Make a list of all your personal property, both yours and the opposing side. Have a list of all the real property either one of you has an interest in. The Florida State Courts System’s Self-Help Center is available to help direct you through the documentation needed: www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Court-Improvement/Family-Courts/Family-Law-Self-Help-Information/Family-Law-Forms. In going through this ordeal, you will have your ups and down emotionally. This is why it’s important to stay organized with a checklist and to write everything down. If you are concerned that your spouse may flee with the children, make note of the address where you perceive they may be taken.

Once you have decided to file for divorce, in most instances, we advise our clients to inform the spouse of your intentions, either verbally or by other means. While initially this may cause strife, it is a better option than blindsiding your spouse with divorce papers, especially when children are involved. There are different thoughts on the means of initiating a divorce, but as our firm has analyzed this both legally and psychologically, being upfront right from the start lessens the dissension when moving forward through the process of a divorce. The more contentious a divorce, the longer it takes to reach a settlement, which in turn becomes more costly in attorney’s fees for both sides.

The divorce process begins by one of the parties to the marriage filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This petition must state that the party filing wants to divorce the other. The petition must also state the following:

    • Name(s) of child(ren) if any.
    • Indicate the party filing has been a continuous resident of the Florida county in which the petition was filed for at least 6 months.
    • Declare the marriage is irretrievably broken.
    • Whether there is any property of the marriage, real or personal.
    • Any other request the party may feel they are entitled to.
    • Request for child support or alimony if applicable.

Financial Affidavit

The petition for dissolution of marriage is signed and notarized. It is usually filed along with the financial affidavit. If there are children of the marriage, then a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) affidavit must be also be filed. This petition is filed in the county in which the petitioner has resided in for the last six months. When you file this petition, the individual filing will be required to pay a filing fee. The individual will also be required to prepare a summons that will be served along with the complaint. The process server will take this summons along with the complaint and serve it on the opposing side.

The individual being served will have 20 days to file what is called an answer. This answer will state what the individual being served wants. After the answer has been filed, the parties will begin the process known as “discovery.” This is the process of gathering information from the other side. The following are instruments to gather that information.

  • Deposition.
  • Interrogatories.
  • Request to produce.

Trial

Once the parties are done with discovery, they will both be ready for trial. At this point, either party can file a pleading requesting a trial. It is called a notice of trial. Once this is done, the court will order both parties to mediate before trial. This will be set out in what is called a pretrial order. The order will most likely schedule a Case Management Conference and a date for the trial to take place.

The trial will be a bench trial. At the mediation, the parties will try to resolve some or all of the following issues:

  • Custody of Children if applicable.
  • Child Visitation.
  • Division of real and personal property.
  • Child Support.
  • Alimony.
  • How to handle relocation or travel.
  • Attorneys’ fees (who is going to pay).
  • Any other issue that is applicable to your particular facts.

Settlement Agreement

Both parties will attempt to enter into a marital settlement agreement, which would cover the above-mentioned issues. If they are able to enter into an agreement, both sides will sign the agreement, and then a date will be set for the judge to sign off on the agreement. One of the parties will set a hearing to go before a judge so the judge can sign off on the divorce and verify that both parties entered the agreement freely and voluntarily. The judge will sign the final order and the parties will be divorced. The agreement will outline how the assets of the marriage will be divided and how their responsibility to each other and the children will be handled.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement, then the parties will go to trial, and the judge will decide all the issues for them. In cases dealing with these kinds of issues, there is a much higher success rate when people enter into an agreement between the parties as opposed to the judge doing it for them.

Conclusion

The family law attorneys at ZAGERLAW, P.A. take a different approach to these types of cases. We attempt mediation as quickly as possible. We do everything to avoid unnecessary litigation. We address the problems that lead to litigation immediately. We set the case for trial as quickly as possible to bring the case to a conclusion in an attempt to save the client thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Please go to our contact section and email us any question(s), and we will be happy to review it and send you back an answer. Our team will help you get through this painful experience.

Let our experienced family law attorney work for you in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Conclusion

The family law attorneys at ZAGERLAW, P.A. take a different approach to these types of cases. We attempt mediation as quickly as possible. We do everything to avoid unnecessary litigation. We address the problems that lead to litigation immediately. We set the case for trial as quickly as possible to bring the case to a conclusion in an attempt to save the client thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Please go to our contact section and email us any question(s), and we will be happy to review it and send you back an answer. Our team will help you get through this painful experience.

Let our experienced family law attorney work for you in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

LET OUR FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY HELP YOU!

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