850.224.5333 Tallahassee 

850.244.5333 Ft Walton Beach

Family & Criminal Law

in

North Florida



We have Attorneys in Tallahassee and Ft Walton Beach to assist with your family law and criminal law needs.  Family law includes divorce, child support, child visitation, paternity and more while criminal law covers arrests for misdemeanor charges, drug charges, felonies, violation of probation and more.

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850.224.5333 Tallahassee

850.244.5333 Ft Walton Beach


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Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)


  • Dividing a couple or a family is very difficult for everyone involved
  • Children, support money, division of assets and debts are all included in the process 
  • Every divorce and family is different 
  • Very emotional time for all parties - attorneys can provide the logical support needed.


The decision to file for divorce is typically not an easy one. It is common for couples to go through periods of ambivalence when deciding whether or not to try to save a marriage. Emotions of fear, relief, guilt, shock, betrayal, and insecurity vary with each day. The ultimate decision to divorce may be based on a combination of these feelings along with logic, intuition, and a gut reaction to an intolerable situation. This decision essentially boils down to a simple question: "Am I better off without my spouse or with my spouse?" The answer to this question requires some genuine soul-searching and consideration of a wide variety of factors.


Usually one party will file for divorce by filing a Petition with the Court in the county where one or both parties live. One party must have been a resident in the state of Florida for at least 6 months before filing the petition for divorce. The cost is about $450.00 to file and another $40.00 to have the other party served with the paperwork. If there are children involved then both parents must attend a Florida-approved parenting class within 20 days for the filing for divorce. There are a lot of issues involved in a divorce case such as: property, debts, retirement, alimony, child support, and a parenting schedule. Other than child support and the parenting schedule, the length of the marriage is an important factor. Another important factor is the amount of income each party brings into the marriage. When a Petition for divorce is filed and served on one party, that party has 20 days to respond (file an answer) to the petition, costing the petitioner almost a month in time. Then within 45 days, mandatory disclosure must be completed by both parties. Mandatory disclosure is the back records, credit card accounts, financial affidavits etc. The only divorce that does not require full disclosure is a simplified divorce, which involves no children and very little property. When all the disclosure requirements are completed, the parties are required to attend mediation, which usually takes 2-3 hours, but can sometimes go longer. If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, than the case is set for trial which can take anywhere from a few hours to several days.


In short it usually takes 2 to 4 months to complete a divorce case, but these times are usually out of our Firm’s control and in the hands of the client. Non-adversarial alternatives, such as arbitration and mandatory mediation are often imposed by courts in an attempt to save time and money and preserve relationships to the fullest extent possible. Mediation and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes provide an option for those who prefer to stay out of court. ADR provides many potential advantages for most cases, including reduced cost, faster resolution, less emotional stress and the ability to construct solutions that are outside of the authority of the courts. In addition to divorce our attorneys handle a full range of domestic matters including: Because of the long-reaching implications of a divorce, one of the best things to do is get an attorney to help. You may think that an experienced Florida divorce lawyer is too expensive for such a task, but hiring an experienced divorce lawyer can save you from a costly divorce agreement or judgment that could affect you long after the case has been put to rest


Division & Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities


Marital assets and liabilities are those assets acquired or incurred during the marriage. The division of these assets and liabilities is determined by statute, and in most cases equitable distribution is one half distributed to each party. Any debts incurred during the marriage must be shown to be incurred for marital purposes. If an asset was acquired or a liability incurred prior to the marriage or subsequent to the parties' permanent separation or filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (or if marital funds were not used to purchase the asset), then that liability/asset is considered non-marital, but only if it has not been commingled with the other party. For example, adding the other party's name to a Deed for non-marital realty property or to the non-marital bank account.