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Pasco County, FL Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is an emotionally and legally complex matter. Unfortunately, when people get divorced, they often feel unsure of where to turn. That said, if you’re reading this, you are in the right place. Here at The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A., we are dedicated to helping clients navigate the complexities of divorce, including matters involving asset distribution, child custody and support, alimony and more. If you need a competent Pasco County divorce lawyer to represent you, simply contact us today.

Divorce Lawyer | Fighting for Individuals & Their Families in Pasco County

Getting divorced is never an easy process. Unfortunately, it is something that roughly half of all Americans go through in this day and age. That said, anyone facing a divorce would be best served with a competent Pasco County, FL family law attorney in their corner who is familiar with the various laws governing divorce in our state and how to best serve those going through the process. Our firm stands ready to help you, every step of the way.

The Divorce Process in Florida

As you can imagine, divorce can, at times, be a long and complex process. However, a skilled attorney in your corner to guide you through it can make it move along as smoothly as possible. A basic breakdown of the divorce process in Florida is as follows:

  • One spouse will file a petition for divorce in the county where either spouse resides. This spouse is known as the petitioner.
  • Once the respondent (the other spouse) receives the petition, they have 20 days to file a response. If you are served divorce papers, it is paramount that you don’t waste time. You’ll need to hire a lawyer and file a response at once, because if you don’t, your spouse can ask the court to grant a default judgment, which would result in the court granting the divorce without your participation (in most cases, this would result in a favorable outcome for your spouse).
  • Once the respondent files a response, the court will order a case management conference, wherein both spouses will have to discuss all contested issues (such as child support, alimony, property division, etc.). If the couple cannot reach an agreement at this time, the court will set a trial date.
  • Before trial, however, the court will conduct discovery. Here, both spouses will gather and exchange information regarding their assets, debts and other information regarding each spouse’s financial situation. Typically, the documents involved include pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns and more. A seasoned divorce lawyer can ensure you fully disclose all financial information–failing to fully disclose your finances can result in legal issues down the line.
  • If a settlement still cannot be reached, the couple will go to trial. Both spouses can cite fault grounds or file a no-fault divorce. Both spouses and their lawyers will then present evidence and testimony to the judge, and, finally, the judge will make final decisions regarding all disputed divorce terms.

What Are Fault Grounds?

Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means spouses only need to cite “irreconcilable differences,” i.e. a no-fault divorce, where neither spouse is specifically blaming the other for the breakdown of their marriage. Many states allow spouses to cite specific fault grounds, such as adultery, but in Florida, this is not the case.

That said, spouses can cite mental incapacitation as a reason for wanting a divorce, however, the spouse citing mental incapacitation will have to prove either that the mentally ill spouse underwent a court hearing and was classified as mentally incapacitated at least three years before the divorce petition and that they sent the notice of divorce proceedings to their spouse’s nearest blood relative or guardian so they can protect their spouse’s interests during the divorce proceedings.

As you know, every divorce is different, so it is always best to speak with a divorce lawyer and get his or her advice on what the best strategy may be for your individual case.

Terms That Must Be Settled

The two types of divorce are contested divorce and uncontested divorce. If you’re in an uncontested divorce, it means you and your spouse both agree on all terms pertaining to your divorce. However, as you can imagine, most divorces are contested divorces, meaning you and your spouse have to iron out several issues (or have a judge decide on them) before your divorce can be finalized. Some of the most important divorce-related issues that must be settled are as follows:

  • Child Custody: Child custody is one of the most commonly contested divorce-related issues, as both parents typically want to play an equal role in raising their children. If you can’t reach an agreement on your own, a judge will have to decide for you.
  • Child Support: Typically, the spouse with primary physical custody of a child will receive child support, but sometimes, the non-custodial parent will contest the amount of support they owe. It’s important to have a seasoned divorce lawyer in your corner at this time.
  • Alimony: Often, the financially dependent spouse will qualify for alimony in Florida, but a wide range of factors will influence whether they do actually qualify and the amount they may be eligible to receive.
  • Property Division: If spouses can’t agree on “who gets what,” the court will have to decide. This means that critical assets, such as bank accounts, stock options and even the marital home will likely be divided between spouses. It’s critical that you have an attorney in your corner who can protect what’s yours.

Contact a Wesley Chapel Divorce Lawyer Today

Divorce is often a rocky road, so it is always best to have a seasoned lawyer in your corner who can protect the interests of you and your children at every turn. Fortunately, you’re in the right place. Contact The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A. today to schedule your initial consultation with our compassionate and highly-skilled legal team.

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