The Petition Process for Divorce
In Florida, a party to a marriage may petition the court for a divorce (known in legal terms as a “dissolution of marriage”) on one of two grounds: 1) the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” or 2) mental incapacity of one of the parties to the marriage (much more rare).
For many, many years now, it has been the state’s public policy to encourage “generic proceedings,” when it comes to divorce. What this means is, since most court proceedings become a matter of public record the state encourages divorcing couples NOT to use the court proceedings as a place for vindictive behavior, personal attacks or harmful accusations. Instead, parties to a divorce are encouraged to keep the more flavorful details to themselves.
Rather than assigning “fault” for a divorce, such as adultery, the State of Florida has opted to permit couples to just say on the public record their marriage is irretrievably broken. This serves not only to protect the reputations of the parties, but also, to protect children of the marriage.
These, and many other policies adopted by the state over the last several years, are an attempt to encourage amicable settlements in divorce proceedings in Florida. Parents are no longer fighting for custody but, instead, are required to work together to develop a parenting plan for timesharing for their child, for instance.
That said, the reality is, divorce proceedings can be complex and hurtful. Attorneys often will tell you: “In criminal court, you will see bad people at their best, and in family court, you’ll see good people at their worst.” Because divorce, family separation and co-parenting cases are so personal, you can lose perspective. Not only are good divorce attorneys knowledgeable about the laws governing such issues, but also they are professionals trained to advocate for their client.
The best attorneys are compassionate, level-headed and in control. They do not insert their own emotions into a case, but do zealously represent their client’s interests, whether at a negotiation table or in a courtroom.
Factors to Consider When Hiring a Divorce Attorney
Carefully selecting an attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make if you are considering a divorce or must address co-parenting issues with a spouse/parent from whom you are separated. Choose wisely. Ask about the attorney’s experience. Have they:
- Handled cases like yours before?
- Dealt with high-conflict cases?
- Dealt with child-related issues?
- Ever tried a divorce case with a judge?
- Practiced in multiple counties and before multiple courts?
Sandra Ambrose has been a Florida-licensed, family law and divorce attorney for nearly 30 years. She’s advocated for both men and women in divorce cases, and she’s represented children, as well. To learn more about her experience, check out our “About” page.
If you are ready to schedule a consultation, please contact Ambrose Family Law today to meet with an attorney to discuss the particulars of your case. Call today at (407) 388- 8740.