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Kissimmee, Florida Divorce Lawyer

Adams & Luka Kissimmee Divorce Lawyer Serving Osceola County

For Kissimmee families, going through a divorce can be a very stressful and trying time for everyone involved. Divorces can be complex family law cases, with many different legal issues that need to be resolved before a marriage can legally end. Some of the most common issues in a divorce case faced by Kissimmee families include alimony or spousal support, child support, child custody, and the distribution of assets and debts. Every divorce case is unique, requiring the needs of each individual client to be considered as these issues are resolved. Most people are unfamiliar with the divorce process and the factors the court in Kissimmee considers when different issues. Our Kissimmee divorce lawyer can help you through every step of the process.

Initiating the Divorce Process in Kissimmee

When many divorce clients approach a Kissimmee divorce attorney for the first time, they may know that they want a divorce and have a general idea of what they would like to see happen, but may have little to no understanding of how the case will proceed. The first step to formally begin the divorce process is for one party to file a petition for the dissolution of the marriage, which is the initial pleading document that asks the court to end the marriage and decide the issues involved in the way that the petitioning party wants. For example, if after speaking with one of our Kissimmee divorce attorneys, you decide that you would like to request alimony, attorneys fees, and have the marital home sold to split the proceeds, we would request all of this for you in the petition. Given that the court will not give a spouse something if they never requested it, the petition will generally ask for everything that spouse could potentially ever want at any point throughout the process to keep all options open. A petition does not need to be specific and lay out every detail. For example, you do not need to state who you think should receive every individual asset you and your spouse own. Asking the court to equitably distribute all assets and debts accumulated during the marriage is enough.

Once the petition is filed by one party, the other party will have 20 days to respond to that petition by filing an answer, and in many cases a counter-petition. If you have been served already, then your spouse has already taken the steps discussed above to file a petition to initiate the case, and now you will have to file your response. The answer will respond directly to the petition filed by the other party, and the counter-petition will raise any specific issues or requests that the responding party would like to make. If a party fails to file an answer, it is possible for the court to enter a default judgment against them and grant the divorce without any input from that party. Getting a default judgment entered against you is almost never in anyone's best interest for a divorce.

Discovery and Disclosure in a Divorce in Kissimmee

Once all petitions, answers, and other pleadings have been filed, the divorce proceeds to an information gathering stage. The majority of information that needs to be shared will be financial information. For most Kissimmee families, starting preparation for this stage in advance is quite helpful, as gathering documentation can often be time-consuming and possibly labor intensive depending on your circumstances. At this stage, both parties will complete a financial affidavit, which is a sworn statement detailing all income, assets, liabilities, and expenses. Some examples of documents you may need to provide for mandatory disclosure includes:

  • tax returns for the past three years,
  • IRS W2 and 1099 forms,
  • paystubs or other proof of income,
  • deeds, leases, promissory notes, and mortgage statements,
  • three months of bank statements for all checking accounts,
  • twelve months' worth of statements for most other accounts such as savings accounts, money market funds, certificate of deposit accounts, and brokerage account statements,
  • the most recent statement for any profit sharing, retirement, deferred compensation, or pension plan,
  • twelve months of statements for all credit cards or other records of indebtedness

Providing accurate and thorough documentation during this information-gathering process can be critical to receiving the best results in your case. This information is used for calculating child support, determining whether and how much alimony will be awarded, and distributing property. If assets, income, or debts are overlooked or not used properly to evaluate the case, this could lead to you not getting the results that you should.

Negotiations and Mediation

Once most of the information has been shared and both parties understand what each side is requesting, the case will usually proceed into negotiations. Mediation is almost always required in Kissimmee before setting the case for trial and is especially useful in getting issues settled without a judge. Settling a case outside of the court room will save you time, money, and give you more control over the results. If a settlement agreement is reached at this stage, a marital settlement agreement will be drafted and signed by both spouses and submitted to the court. Even if no agreement is reached at mediation, mediation can still be useful to move each side closer to a mutual agreement and possibly allow for settlement to still occur before the case is set for trial. The judge will then enter a final judgment dissolving the marriage based on the agreement, either with or without a brief court hearing. If no agreement can be reached on some or all of the issues, then the case will proceed to trial.

Divorce Trial in Kissimmee

At trial, both parties will present evidence in support of their position and the judge will make the final decision as to what the outcome will be. Most evidence will be introduced in the form of documents and testimony. It is common for both spouses to testify at trial in divorce proceedings. Trial requires a significant amount of preparation beforehand by both the client and the attorney, as being unprepared is almost a guaranteed way to have the trial not go well for you. Given the time and expenses associated with properly preparing and conducting a trial, this step should only be used when reaching a favorable settlement agreement beforehand is not feasible.

Contact Us Now for Your Free Consultation

Here at My Florida Family Attorney, Adams & Luka, P.A., our divorce attorneys in Kissimmee will use the initial free consultation to answer any questions you have and get you much more familiar with the divorce process, including what to expect in your own unique situation. Our divorce attorneys will take the time from the very beginning to get a full understanding of your circumstances and what you would like to see happen, and fight to get you the results you want every step of the way. Our divorce attorneys have extensive experience with evaluating divorce cases and strong negotiation skills to settle your case the way you want without trial if possible. If no settlement can be reached ,or if trial is in your best interest, our attorneys will do everything necessary to be fully prepared and make sure that you are too, so that you can walk into the court room confident and ready. We understand how difficult this process can be and will set your mind at ease knowing your case is in the right hands of attorneys who have the skill and dedication to protect your rights and get you the best results possible. Call us 24/7 for your free consultation at 407-872-0303 or 352-357-4084.