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Contested Divorce

Orange Park Contested Divorce Attorneys

Aggressive Representation for Your Contested Divorce in Florida

Divorce is never easy. It can be even more complicated if you and your spouse are not in agreement about how to end your marriage. At Owenby Law, P.A., we understand that many people face significant financial, parenting, and property concerns when they decide to divorce. These issues can be even more complicated if they are not resolved in a way that makes you feel comfortable with your final settlement.

Our team is here to help you through this process and to ensure that you are protected and have the best possible outcome for your situation. We offer compassionate and personalized legal representation to all of our clients.

Call or contact us online today to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help you.

What is a Contested Divorce?

In Florida, a contested divorce is a type of divorce where the spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues related to the dissolution of their marriage.

These key issues typically include:

  • Division of Property and Assets: This involves deciding how to divide the marital property and assets, such as homes, vehicles, bank accounts, and personal belongings. Florida follows an equitable distribution system, which means that property and assets should be divided fairly but not necessarily equally.
  • Alimony (Spousal Support): Determining whether one spouse should pay alimony to the other and, if so, the amount and duration of the payments. This is often influenced by factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial situation, and their contributions to the marriage.
  • Child Custody and Visitation: If the divorcing couple has children, they must work out a parenting plan that includes child custody (timesharing) and visitation (parental responsibility). The best interests of the child are considered in making these determinations.
  • Child Support: Deciding on the amount of child support that one parent will pay to the other for the financial support of the children. Child support in Florida is typically calculated based on state guidelines that take into account the parents' incomes and the children's needs.

In contrast to an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on these matters, a contested divorce involves legal proceedings and negotiations to resolve these conflicts.

The Process of a Contested Divorce in Florida

In a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on one or more of these issues, which can lead to a more complex and time-consuming legal process.

Here's what typically happens in a contested divorce in Florida:

  1. Filing a Petition: One spouse initiates the divorce process by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. This legal document outlines the grounds for divorce and the specific issues in dispute.
  2. Response: The other spouse must respond to the petition within a specified time frame, typically 20 days, by filing an Answer. This document can include their counterclaims and positions on the contested issues.
  3. Discovery: Both parties exchange information and documents related to the contested issues, which can involve financial records, witness statements, and other evidence.
  4. Mediation: In many Florida divorce cases, the court may require mediation to help the parties reach a settlement on contested issues. Mediation involves a neutral third party (the mediator) who helps facilitate negotiations between the spouses.
  5. Court Proceedings: If mediation is unsuccessful, the case may proceed to court, where a judge will make decisions on the contested issues. This can involve presenting evidence and witnesses to support each party's arguments.
  6. Final Judgment: Once the court makes decisions on the contested issues, it issues a final judgment of divorce, which outlines the terms of the divorce, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.

Contested divorces can be emotionally and financially draining, so it's often recommended to seek legal counsel to navigate the process effectively. It's also worth noting that the specific procedures and requirements for a contested divorce in Florida may vary depending on the circumstances and the local court rules, so consulting with an attorney is essential to ensure you comply with all legal requirements.

Common Mistakes You Can Make in a Contested Divorce

Navigating a contested divorce can be emotionally draining and legally complex. Making mistakes during this process can have significant consequences on the outcome of the divorce settlement, as well as on your emotional well-being and financial stability.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Letting Emotions Take Over: It's natural to feel hurt, angry, or resentful during a divorce, but letting these emotions dictate your actions can lead to irrational decision-making. Try to remain calm and focused on the practical aspects of the divorce proceedings.
  • Failing to Communicate Effectively: Communication breakdowns can escalate conflict and prolong the divorce process. Try to maintain open and civil communication with your ex-spouse, especially when discussing important matters like child custody or property division.
  • Ignoring Legal Advice: Hiring a competent divorce attorney is crucial in a contested divorce. Ignoring your attorney's advice or attempting to handle legal matters on your own can result in unfavorable outcomes. Trust your legal counsel and follow their guidance throughout the process.
  • Not Being Transparent About Finances: Full financial disclosure is required in a divorce, and attempting to conceal assets or income can backfire. Be honest and transparent about your financial situation to avoid accusations of dishonesty and potential legal consequences.
  • Making Rash Decisions: Decisions made in the heat of the moment can have long-term repercussions. Take the time to carefully consider all options and their potential consequences before making any major decisions regarding child custody, property division, or spousal support.
  • Using Children as Pawns: Dragging children into the middle of divorce conflicts can cause emotional harm and strain relationships with both parents. Keep children's best interests in mind and prioritize their well-being throughout the process.
  • Refusing to Compromise: Stubbornness and an unwillingness to compromise can prolong the divorce process and drive up legal costs. Be willing to negotiate with your ex-spouse and find mutually acceptable solutions to contentious issues.
  • Not Planning for the Future: Divorce marks the beginning of a new chapter in your life, and failing to plan for the future can leave you financially vulnerable. Take steps to secure your financial independence and create a post-divorce plan for yourself and your children.
  • Neglecting Self-Care: Divorce is emotionally draining, and neglecting self-care can exacerbate stress and anxiety. Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being by seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Disregarding Court Orders: Ignoring court orders or failing to comply with legal obligations can result in contempt charges and other legal consequences. Respect the authority of the court and comply with all directives issued during the divorce proceedings.

How Can I Avoid a Contested Divorce?

Avoiding a contested divorce involves proactive steps taken by both spouses to minimize conflict and reach agreements amicably. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Open Communication: Foster open and honest communication with your spouse from the outset. Discuss your concerns, needs, and goals for the divorce process in a respectful manner. Effective communication can help identify areas of agreement and facilitate compromise.
  • Seek Mediation: Mediation involves working with a neutral third-party mediator to facilitate discussions and negotiate agreements on various aspects of the divorce, such as child custody, support, and property division. Mediation can help resolve disputes outside of court and often leads to more satisfactory outcomes for both parties.
  • Collaborative Divorce: In a collaborative divorce, each spouse retains their own attorney but commits to resolving issues through cooperative negotiation rather than litigation. Collaborative divorce allows for more control over the outcome and encourages problem-solving rather than adversarial tactics.
  • Focus on the Big Picture: Keep the bigger picture in mind and prioritize what matters most to you and your family. Instead of fixating on small details or past grievances, focus on achieving fair and practical solutions that promote the well-being of everyone involved.
  • Compromise and Flexibility: Be willing to compromise and demonstrate flexibility during negotiations. Recognize that both parties may need to make concessions to reach mutually acceptable agreements. Approach discussions with an open mind and be willing to explore creative solutions.
  • Consult with Professionals: Seek guidance from divorce professionals such as attorneys, financial advisors, or therapists who can provide objective advice and support throughout the process. Their expertise can help you make informed decisions and navigate potential challenges effectively.
  • Consider the Children: If children are involved, prioritize their needs and well-being above all else. Collaborate with your spouse to develop a co-parenting plan that promotes stability, consistency, and positive relationships with both parents. Shield children from conflict as much as possible and refrain from using them as pawns in negotiations.
  • Prepare Financially: Understand your financial situation and gather relevant documentation before initiating divorce proceedings. Having a clear understanding of your assets, debts, and financial needs can streamline negotiations and facilitate fair property division and support arrangements.
  • Stay Out of Court: Whenever possible, aim to resolve disputes outside of court through alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce. Litigation tends to be more costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, so explore all options for reaching agreements without litigation.
  • Focus on the Future: While it's natural to dwell on past grievances during divorce, try to shift your focus toward the future and the opportunities it holds. Set realistic goals for yourself post-divorce and take proactive steps to build a fulfilling and stable life moving forward.

Why Choose Our Firm?

A contested divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience, but with the right legal representation, you can navigate this difficult process more effectively. If you are facing a contested divorce in Orange Park, FL, the attorneys at Owenby Law, P.A. are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need. We are dedicated to advocating for your rights and working toward the best possible resolution for your case.

Here are some reasons why legal representation is crucial in contested divorces:

  • Legal Expertise: Our attorneys are well-versed in Florida divorce laws and can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. They will ensure that your interests are protected throughout the legal process.
  • Objective Advice: Emotions can run high during contested divorces. Having a lawyer by your side provides a level of objectivity and helps you make informed decisions based on your best interests.
  • Negotiation Skills: Negotiating the terms of a divorce can be complex. Our attorneys have the negotiation skills to work towards a favorable settlement, saving you time, money, and stress.
  • Courtroom Experience: If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, your case may go to trial. Our attorneys have extensive courtroom experience and can effectively represent your interests before a judge.

For a consultation with an experienced contested divorce attorney in Orange Park, call Owenby Law, P.A. at .

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The Benefits of Hiring Owenby Law, P.A.

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