Do not attempt to act as your own attorney in a Florida divorce proceeding under any circumstance. Sure, all kinds of resources are available for “do-it-yourself” divorces, but even the blank forms and documents offered online, in the end, are going to be insufficient. They lack the precise legal language you’re going to need to ensure that your divorce settlement is valid, applicable, and enforceable. Your divorce is unique, so it won’t be compatible with a fill-in-the-blank approach. It’s easy to make a mistake, too. Even before you get to a courtroom, you’ll have to complete some complicated legal paperwork, and any mistake could delay your divorce or count against you when the settlement is determined. If you are divorcing in South Florida, don’t even begin the process without the help of an experienced Boca Raton dissolution attorney on your side.
When you retain the services of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney, you’ll be hiring someone who’s been rigorously and extensively trained, someone who routinely handles a variety of dissolution cases, and someone who very likely already knows the judge and the opposing attorney. A divorce is going to be one of the most important events in your life, and it’s too important to put in the hands of an amateur attorney – like yourself. If you are divorcing in South Florida, contact an experienced Boca Raton dissolution attorney as quickly as possible.
Complications That May Arise
If you’re a parent, or if you own a business or any real estate, or if you have a pension, you must be represented in a dissolution proceeding by an experienced dissolution attorney who will protect your long-term best interests. A lawyer may cost you a few dollars, but what you could lose if you do not have an attorney is potentially far more than what you’ll pay for the help you really need. Don’t be seduced by online “comprehensive divorce guides” and “divorce tutorials.” They cannot teach you divorce negotiation strategies, the rules of evidence, or how to be a trial lawyer.
For example, how would you handle moving forward with a dissolution when your spouse has disappeared? Your spouse may be AWOL from the military or on the run from law enforcement, bill collectors, an outstanding warrant, or maybe even vengeful drug dealers. Or perhaps your spouse simply abandoned you. Can you get a divorce in Florida if your spouse cannot be located? The answer is yes, but you’ll probably need help finding your spouse or help to establish that he or she cannot be found. If you’re seeking to divorce a missing spouse in south Florida, obtain advice and help at once by contacting an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.
Florida law requires you to make a reasonable effort to find your spouse prior to dissolution. You’ll have to talk to your spouse’s family and friends. You’ll have to find out if an address is on file with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Should your efforts fail, your dissolution attorney will help you file “Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure Form 12.913(b) – an Affidavit of Diligent Search and Inquiry.” On this form, you explain to the court the efforts you’ve made to track down your spouse. You’ll then file “Form 12.913(a) – Notice of Action for Dissolution of Marriage,” and you’ll have to pay to have the notice published in an “approved” newspaper for four consecutive weeks.
If your spouse does not respond within twenty days of the final publication of the notice, at that point your attorney can help you enter a “default” against your spouse, which will allow you to schedule an uncontested final hearing with a judge. Obviously, divorcing a missing spouse may not be the ideal divorce; a spouse who can’t be located, for example, can’t be ordered to pay alimony or child support. It’s best to obtain an attorney’s advice from the beginning. If you seek a divorce in South Florida – whether your spouse has disappeared or is hanging around constantly – get the help you need by promptly calling an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney.
If you are divorcing with children in south Florida, be certain that you have the advice and counsel of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney as early as possible. When a divorcing couple has children, Florida courts make the best interests of those children the top priority. When is a child allowed to testify as a witness in a Florida divorce or custody hearing? Many parents actually want their children to be heard in court, and Florida courts strive to take into account the feelings and wishes of children involved in a divorce. Nevertheless, most Florida judges believe that children under the age of 13 may not fully understand what they are testifying to. However, there’s no law in Florida preventing children 12 and under from testifying, and their testimony may be allowed at the judge’s discretion.
When one party in a divorce proceeding wants a child under 16 years of age to testify, that party must ask the court to allow the child’s testimony. Typically in a divorce proceeding, the request is for the child’s testimony to be heard outside of the presence of parents and attorneys, known as “in camera” (meaning in private) testimony. While smaller children probably should not testify in most cases, in other cases it’s important for the child to feel that the court will consider his or her feelings and views. The decision to have a child testify should be made after careful consideration and discussion with your divorce attorney.
When you get a divorce with children in south Florida, you need a lawyer who has successfully handled plenty of similar divorces with children. Divorce is tough for everyone involved, but legal help is available. If you’re divorcing or expecting to divorce in South Florida, whether or not you and your spouse are parents, get the legal advice and representation that an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney can provide, and don’t wait to make the call.