Ending a marriage is a hard choice to make, and unfortunately, it is not always a mutual decision. When one party wants a divorce, and the other does not, it can be an incredibly frustrating situation. In Florida, only one spouse has to want a divorce for a request to be granted, but it does create a few complications. If you find yourself in this position, here are the steps you and your Jacksonville divorce attorney will go through to complete the process.
Filing for divorce.
If your spouse does not wish to sign a petition for an uncontested divorce, you will need to file for a contested divorce. You will then need to have your spouse served with papers. This should be done by a sheriff’s deputy in the county in which your spouse lives or by a professional process server. This way it is clearly documented that the petition has been delivered in case you need to request a default judgment after 20 days without a response. In a contested divorce, it is very wise to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce due to the complexities of the type of situation. The emotional and financial consequences are too high to risk not having professional representation.
Asking for a default judgment.
If your spouse does not comply by replying to the court within 20 days of being served, you may ask the court for a default judgment. In this case, the court will reclassify the filing as contested and schedule a default hearing. As the person seeking the divorce, you will need to show up in court to ask for the divorce to be granted.
Property division and custody.
At the default hearing, you will have to tell the court how you wish to have any property that you own divided. Additionally, the court will need to consider the custody of any children involved. When reasonable requests are submitted, they are generally accepted by the court. A divorce attorney in Jacksonville can help you avoid any complications and make sure your requests will be reasonable to the court.
What if the divorce is contested?
If your spouse responds to the court, the process can get much more complicated. As mentioned above, you will need to file for a contested divorce, and each party will need to fill out financial affidavits. Your property and any custody situations will then be assessed by the court. A Jacksonville divorce attorney can represent you to ensure that you receive a fair arrangement from the court.
Divorce doesn’t have to be arduous. If you and your spouse are not in agreement on the decision to get a divorce, it’s best to get advice from an attorney who specializes in family law. If you’re considering filing for divorce, contact the family law experts at Parker & DuFresne. Our attorneys are ready to help you navigate the complexities that may lie ahead. Call us today at (904) 733-7766 for a free, no-obligation consultation.