Divorce is one of the most painful and costly times in a person's life, but a qualified Kissimmee divorce attorney can ease the burden by ensuring you have all the proper information and explaining every step and facet of the process to you before you make decisions that could negatively impact the rest of your life. Divorce lawyers do much more than just file papers.
Give Objective AdviceYour emotions are bound to be running high, especially when discussing your spouse or children. Your friends and family are bound to be full of advice, but a lot of that will serve only to heighten your emotional state and cause you to make bad decisions.
An experienced divorce lawyer
has seen these cases hundreds of times, and he or she will know that while your situation is unique, your emotions (and the impact they have on your decision-making process) aren't. They'll explain the ramifications of things like custody issues, dividing assets and debt and other factors so you can focus more on getting an outcome that's most beneficial for you than on the demise of your marriage or getting back at your spouse.
They also act as a go-between, communicating with your spouse or his or her attorney on your behalf so you can avoid painful or potentially volatile conversations.
Explain Grounds for DivorceEvery state has established certain grounds for divorce, which the filing spouse must cite when petitioning for divorce. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that you only have to cite that the marriage is irretrievably broken in order to be granted a divorce.
That said, fault may be considered in certain circumstances when it comes to awarding spousal support, dividing assets and debts and determining parental responsibilities. The advice of a seasoned divorce lawyer is essential in ensuring your rights are protected, whether you're the one accusing the other of fault or being accused. Note, however, that "fault" isn't a determination of who was more at fault for the two of you ceasing to get along. Grounds for fault are very specific: adultery, cruelty or domestic violence, desertion, a prison sentence and inability to engage in sexual intercourse if it wasn't disclosed prior to marriage. But whether these apply to you or will hold up in a Florida court is something you may need your lawyer's assistance to determine.
The courts will determine the fairest way to divide your joint assets, but that requires that you're aware of all such assets (and all the debts). Your attorney can help ensure your spouse discloses everything, especially if that spouse was the one handling the money.
Explain Property DivisionAlong with helping you ensure you get your fair share of the marital assets goes property division, which can be a bit more complex, as only one person can own it, but both may want it. In some cases, the court may determine the couple should sell the property and divide the proceeds or award it to the parent who would require it to provide for the children. In others, the court may award the property to one spouse as part of equal division of all assets or because that spouse owned the property outside of the marriage (for example, a home they owned prior to the marriage or one they inherited from a relative).
Your attorney will help you analyze what property is considered marital property and what property belongs to each spouse individually (if any) and give you the information you need to understand what's likely to happen and how much negotiating room you have.
Protect You from Excess Debt
Splitting debt is often more contentious than splitting assets. You're both liable for joint debt, but it does happen that only one spouse is held responsible for it. A lawyer can help you protect yourself against being held liable for debt that shouldn't be your responsibility.
Explain Spousal Support and Other Benefits
Spousal support generally comes into play when one spouse makes more money than the other or when one spouse made career sacrifices (leading to a currently lower or nonexistent income) so the other spouse's career could continue to advance. Additionally, if you've been married for a certain number of years, one spouse may be entitled to part of the other's pension or Social Security benefits.
There may also be claims on any business interests one spouse owns or runs. It's not uncommon to think only about the immediate financial situation, but because divorce can literally affect your for years — often the rest of your life — a lawyer's guidance is invaluable.
Help with Custody Planning
A divorce attorney can help you work with your spouse to develop a parenting plan that addresses the children's need while giving each parent as much of what they want, too.
Prepare Divorce Papers
Formal papers must be submitted to the proper court in order to start the divorce process. A lawyer can help you prepare these or respond to papers you were served to ensure there are no snags or delays due to improper filing.
Negotiate a Settlement
Negotiating a settlement is generally cheaper and much quicker than going to court, and an attorney can help you get the most beneficial settlement for you.
Represent You in Court
Sometimes, negotiating just isn't an option — if the spouse's are too far away in terms of what they want or if one or both parties are asking for more than their fair share, things get messy and court is the only option. A divorce lawyer can make sure you aren't railroaded by the opposition as a result of not understanding your rights and responsibilities.
We believe you should bring in a lawyer as soon as you know divorce is eminent, even before papers of any kind have been filed. But if at any point in the process you realize you're in over your head or you feel your spouse is being unreasonable in his or her demands, it's never too late to get an attorney involved. If you need an experienced divorce attorney
in Kissimmee, Florida, call Draper Law Offices at 866.767.4711 for a free, no-obligation consultation or contact Draper online