- Complex Matrimonial Matters
- Domestic Violence
- International Family Law
- Interstate International Child Abduction
Divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming process. The end of a marriage often overlaps negotiations for child custody, child support and division of marital assets. Our divorce lawyer in Miami can help relieve the stress of this difficult time and protect your future. The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. represents clients in Miami-Dade County and throughout South Florida in separation or divorce proceedings with compassion and attentive service. With many years of experience, we provide effective, strategic representation in difficult cases.
You probably have many questions about your rights and how the divorce process works. You can rely on us to take the time to listen to your concerns, guide you through the process and thoroughly answer any questions you may have along the way. The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. in Miami provides knowledgeable, compassionate legal guidance for every step in your divorce.
In Florida, divorce is referred to as dissolution of marriage. The bonds of matrimony are dissolved and, if necessary, a judge decides how to divide marital property, time with the children and other issues, including:
Fault is not necessary to justify a divorce in Florida any longer, so you must only prove that the marriage exists, that one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one spouse is mentally incapacitated.
In the regular dissolution process, one spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage in the circuit court in the county typically where the couple last lived together as husband and wife. Either spouse can file with or without a divorce lawyer, but an experienced family law attorney is highly recommended if you have children or assets and debts to divide, as these issues are very complex and can have a long-lasting impact.
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that it is not necessary to prove that either party is at fault for the marriage ending in divorce. Nonetheless, fault may be relevant to issues such as child custody, alimony and dividing assets. For this reason, depending on your circumstances, it may be advisable to prove that the other spouse was at fault, which we will determine as part of developing a strategy.
The responding spouse must file an answer within 20 days of being served with a copy of the divorce petition. If minor children are involved, each party must provide financial information and submit child support worksheets. If you and your spouse agree on property division, a parenting plan inclusive of time-sharing, child support and other issues, you may enter into a written agreement and present the agreement to the court.
A divorce is considered contested if some issues are in dispute, such as child custody, child support, equitable property division or spousal support. Couples often find it difficult to talk to each other, much less agree on anything. Many couples without children still end up in a contested divorce because they are unable to reach an agreement regarding the division of marital and non-marital assets and debts.
Contested divorces move through Florida’s divorce process in an adversarial manner. The party who files a divorce petition first is known as petitioner. He or she must allege in the petition that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that the other spouse is mentally incapacitated.
Often, courts order parties to mediate their cases before the final hearing. Successful mediations can save both parties significant time and money. Mr. Katz has extensive training and experience in the process.
An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree on every material issue. Uncontested divorces are generally easier, faster and less expensive than contested divorces. Despite the advantages, a divorce agreement should not be taken lightly. These decisions can have a lasting effect on you and your children. In particular, if minor children are involved, the parents must agree to the terms of a parenting plan and child support.
After the parties sign a settlement agreement addressing all material issues, there still must be a final hearing before the judge. Unlike a contested divorce, this final hearing is usually very brief, and only the petitioner must attend unless the respondent is seeking a name change.
If parties are not able to reach an agreement, some counties in Florida require mediation before setting a trial date. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party meets with the spouses, facilitates negotiations and encourages resolution of disputed issues. If mediation is unsuccessful, your case must go to trial, at which time both spouses have an opportunity to present evidence to the court. The judge makes the final decision on all contested issues.
Our seasoned Miami divorce lawyer can help you understand the divorce process and guide you through each step in a timely and cost-effective manner. We take a firm stand to protect your rights and work to achieve the best possible resolution for you and your family. If you are seeking a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, contact The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. today at 305-670-8656 or online to schedule a consultation. Se habla español.
For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in family law matters.