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Jacksonville Divorce Law Blog

Typical steps that occur during the course of a divorce - Part 1

The divorce process can seem quite confusing to someone going through it for the first time; it can almost feel like trying to find your way through a very dark place. Each step of the procedure requires the former spouse to fill out new forms and reveal aspects of their marriage that they may feel uncomfortable discussing. But it's important to remember that divorce is a legal matter that requires completing specific steps. So here is a quick look at some of the common initial legal steps that usually take place during a divorce.

In Florida, courts do not recognize legal separation, so the first step in this state is for the spouse and their attorney to file a petition for divorce which can also be known as a letter of complaint. In the petition, the spouse who is filing for divorce lists the names and addresses of the couple involved as well as the names and ages of any children they may have. The petition must also include a reason for requesting the divorce.

How can divorcing couples divide up their marital property?

Emotions can run high during a divorce. That's because a judge has to look clinically at every aspect of a couple's life that they are emotionally attached to. The judge must then try and give each of them an equal share of what they once held together. This includes the process of property division, which can be difficult for some divorcing couples to face. However, there are several rational steps that divorcing couples can take that can help them divide up their marital property.

One step that they can take before a divorce trial is to hire a mediator who can help a couple get through any property division topic that the spouses are having trouble agreeing to. A mediator can help because they aren't emotionally involved with either of the spouses so they can remain neutral while discussing this topic. By following the recommendations of the mediator, divorcing couples may be able to agree on all of the aspects of property division before they appear in court.

Are there ways to help reduce the emotional stress of a divorce?

Most people know that a divorce can totally change someone's life. There are obvious changes, of course, such as living single and possibly even being a single parent. But many people going through a divorce overlook the stress of a divorce, which can affect someone's emotions and psyche. This stress can be overwhelming at times and it can even have physical manifestations. But are there techniques that someone going through a divorce can use to help them reduce the stress they are going through?

Experts agree that divorcing spouses should find a person or group that can help them deal with all of the emotions of a divorce. Whether it is a group of close friends or family or a therapist, everyone who is going through a divorce needs to have someone to talk to. Talking through a difficult situation is one way to make that situation manageable. Experts agree however, that a divorcing spouse should never discuss their feelings during a divorce with their child. It's very important that they discuss their feelings only with another adult.

What small steps can help a couple get through a divorce?

Many divorcing couples look at a divorce like a military battle that must be won at all cost. It doesn't matter if the issue is alimony, child custody or property division, many of these spouses feel that they must win everything. However, this type of attitude can cause pain and suffering for both parties. Divorcing couples should know that there are guidelines they should follow in order to help them get through a divorce. But what steps can a couple take to help them during their divorce?

An important first step for the couple is to fight fair while the divorce is proceeding. This means that spouses should never argue or bicker in front of their children because this action will only serve to hurt and confuse them. Not arguing also means not bringing up old hurts to their ex just to try and feel better.

When should a parent seek a child support modification?

Even though a divorce decree can seem final, there are times when either former spouse can seek modifications in the terms of their divorce agreement. Perhaps one parent wants to modify the child custody agreement. Or perhaps the non-custodial parent may need to request a change in their child support payments. However, seeking a change in their child support payments can only be granted if certain specific situations arise. So exactly when can a parent request a modification in their child support agreement?

A situation where a custodial parent can seek an increase in child support is if their child has seen an increase in their daily responsibilities. Children's needs do not remain static, and as they get older they may decide to join school clubs or athletic teams or other types of activities which can involve significant costs. If this happens, the custodial parent may need additional support from the non-custodial parent.

Methods that can help produce a child support agreement

Child support can sometimes be one of the prickliest topics to agree to during a divorce. That's usually because the divorcing parents and their attorneys have different ideas about what is fair and what is in the best interests of the child. However, there are ways that can help divorcing couples come to an agreement on child support. So here is a quick look at some methods that can help produce a child support agreement.

One method that divorcing parents can use is to develop a child support agreement through informal negotiations. This process usually takes place with the parents' attorneys who can help guide the process forward. The parents can discuss in detail all of the areas that are part of child support, including how long child support payments will be made, how much will be paid and how many times a year will payments be made. Once an agreement is reached, the attorneys can help finalize the agreement, which can then be incorporated into the couples' final divorce agreement.

What are some advantages of using mediation for child custody?

During a divorce a child custody dispute can quickly turn ugly for both the parents and the child. All it takes sometimes is for one parent to believe that the other has been trying to prevent them from seeing their children. However, using a mediator to help lay the foundation for a child custody agreement can really help divorcing parents cope with a tough situation. But what are some of the advantages of using mediation during a child custody dispute?

One of the benefits of using mediation during child custody is that the process is confidential. Unlike an agreement reached in a traditional divorce held in a courtroom, any child custody agreement done through mediation is confidential. Anyone involved in the process, including the parents, their attorneys and the mediator must not discuss the results with anyone else.

Common legal errors people make during the divorce process

The divorce process can sometimes become a long drawn out event and during this time both spouses' emotions can really take a beating. But it's important to remember that the entire divorce process is fraught with common mistakes that people make time and time again. So here are a few common legal errors that should be avoided when people get divorced.

Many experts believe that one of the first mistakes people make is failing to choose the right divorce method for them. The process of divorce offers many different options for spouses that they may not know about. These include mediation, collaborative law and negotiation. Of course, a traditional divorce trial that is held in a courtroom is still an option, but it's important for spouses to choose a method of divorce that works best for them.

Everything you want to know about alimony but didn't want to ask

In cases of divorce, many divorcing spouses worry about alimony. Some worry that they will have to pay alimony and others worry that they will not receive alimony. But what IS alimony? Alimony is a term given to spousal support or the financial support one spouse receives from another after divorce leaves their financial situation unbalanced. How do you know if you will be paying or receiving alimony in a Jacksonville divorce?

The short answer is, you don't. Alimony is awarded in family court based on factors related to the divorcing spouse's specific financial situation. It is important to understand that courts have broad discretion when it comes to awarding alimony. Alimony is awarded in situations in which one spouse made a personal, financial or educational sacrifice in lieu of the other spouse and children that leaves that spouse's standard of living starkly unbalanced after the financial shake-up of a divorce.

Jacksonville fathers have the right to seek child custody

For Jacksonville fathers, seeking custody may be more difficult in comparison to Jacksonville mothers. This is because it isn't always clear who is the father after a child is born. If you are a Jacksonville father seeking paternity and eventually, child custody or visitation rights, it is important to know that you have the option of seeking these rights and responsibilities. It is possible that for whatever reason, the mother or other parties may be opposed to your quest for fathers' rights.

There is a certain sequence for gaining child custody rights in Florida. First, a father must establish paternity which can be done a few different ways. Once paternity is established, a father may decide to seek visitation or child custody rights. It is usually in a child's best interests to have a parent be involved in their life so the courts will usually approve this contact.