Any number of issues can give rise to a divorce in Tampa, and most of the time, it’s the confluence of these issues that lead to a complete breakdown in the marriage. Still, Florida uses a “no-fault” system for divorces. This means that there doesn’t have to be a stated reason or blame placed on one of the spouses, just that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Along those same lines, you and your spouse don’t even have to agree and work together to bring about the divorce. When that happens, it’s known as a “unilateral” divorce. While it may seem easy, even a unilateral divorce can become murky and require legal help. That’s where our Tampa divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys can help. Contact us today to learn more.
Unilateral Divorce in Tampa and Florida Law
Again, because Florida follows “no-fault” rules regarding divorce, Tampa residents simply need to state the marriage is irretrievably broken when seeking a divorce. With that said, there are certain other requirements and proper procedure that you’ll need to follow if you want to legally divorce your spouse in Tampa:
- Residency requirement – To file for divorce in Tampa, or anywhere in Florida, one of the spouses must have been a Florida resident for at least six months before initiating the divorce process.
- Filing a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage – The process begins with one spouse filing a divorce petition with the local family court, typically the Hillsborough County Clerk of Court in Tampa. This petition outlines the terms of the divorce, covering issues such as property division, child custody, and alimony.
- Service of process – The other spouse, known as the respondent, must be served with the divorce papers. They have a limited time, usually around 20 days, to respond to the petition.
- Asset division and child custody – In Florida, property division follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning assets and debts should be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Child custody arrangements are determined based on the best interests of the child.
- Mediation – Couples are often required to participate in mediation to attempt to reach an agreement on issues such as child custody and property division. If an agreement is reached, it goes to the judge for approval.
- Court proceedings – If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on key issues, the court will hold hearings to make decisions on their behalf. A judge will then issue a final divorce decree that outlines the terms of the divorce.
- Waiting period – Florida has a mandatory waiting period of 20 days after filing the divorce petition before a final judgment can be issued.
As you can see, there’s no requirement that says both you and your spouse have to agree to terms in a divorce. However, it’s always easier when that’s the case. Still, the process that’s in place for unilaterally getting a divorce in Tampa can get complicated. That’s why it’s important to remember that there are ways to simplify the process.
How Can You Simplify the Unilateral Divorce Process in Tampa?
Just because you decide to move forward with a divorce in Tampa–with or without the consent of your ex-spouse–doesn’t mean that things will be easy. In fact, if you can’t even agree on whether or not you want to get a divorce with your spouse, the likelihood that the process will be amicable or hotly-contested is pretty low.
But there’s always ways to simplify the process. Like anything else, it boils down to being prepared and having the right team on your side. With our experience, our team can help you through this process by:
- Legal guidance – We provide experienced legal advice and guidance, ensuring you understand the legal aspects of your divorce and your rights.
- Paperwork help – We help you complete and file all the necessary legal documents, reducing the risk of errors or omissions.
- Negotiation support – If negotiations are required, our attorneys can represent your interests, helping you achieve fair and favorable terms in areas like property division and child custody.
- Mediation – We can assist with mediation if it’s an option for resolving disputes, making the process more amicable and efficient.
- Court representation – In cases that require court proceedings, our attorneys will represent you, presenting your case to the judge and advocating for your best interests.
- Standing up for your rights – We make sure your rights are protected at every step of the divorce, including matters related to assets, finances, child custody, and more.
- Reducing stress – By handling the legal process, we aim to minimize the emotional stress associated with the divorce process.
- Efficiency – Our lawyers work to move your case forward efficiently, helping you reach a resolution more quickly.
- Personalized strategy – We tailor our approach to your specific circumstances, ensuring that your divorce strategy suits your unique needs.
- Support and counsel – Our team is there to provide support and counsel, addressing your concerns and questions throughout the process.
Overall, our lawyers are dedicated to simplifying the unilateral divorce process, protecting your rights, and striving for the best possible outcome in your Tampa divorce. Even with our help, ending a marriage is a difficult decision. Thus, it’s crucial that you understand how the process works and what you need to do to protect yourself.
Contact Our Tampa Divorce Lawyers For a Consultation
At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we’re serious about providing caring and effective help in Tampa divorce cases. Our goal is to help you balance your needs with a fair accounting of your marital assets. With our experience, we look to provide each client with an individualized approach. You can count on our dedication. Contact us today to set up a consultation.