The experienced Orlando divorce attorneys at our Orlando law firm realize that going through a divorce is an extremely stressful and difficult time in an individual’s life. We strive to help our clients deal with this stressful and difficult time by providing prompt and personalized legal representation uniquely tailored to help achieve our clients’ goals throughout the divorce process. We intimately know the divorce process and have guided hundreds of clients in Orlando through the process.
A divorce is a very personal lawsuit. A court is asked to make personal and intimate decisions that impact the lives of the individuals involved and their children. If your divorce proceeds to trial, a judge will be asked to divide assets and liabilities, determine whether alimony is appropriate, dictate a parenting plan to determine how and when a child will spend time with each parent, calculate child support, dissolve the bonds of marriage, and make other personal and private decisions.
It is important that your attorney have the skill, ability, and reputation as a litigator in the courtroom. You do not want an attorney that will just settle your case without fighting for you. Finding an attorney who is a skilled litigator, but utilizes mediation regularly will help achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce. It is important that your divorce attorney has the skills and knowledge to properly represent you should your case proceed to trial, but who also knows how to push your case towards a settlement that is in your best interest.
While most people never thought he or she would be faced with a divorce, it ultimately becomes a necessary reality. We understand that divorce is not a pleasant process, but we strive to guide you through the process as smoothly as possible. As your divorce attorney, we know the importance of being forthright with expectations and sharing information that you may not necessarily like. However, having an attorney that is honest, realistic and experienced will save you time, frustration, and money in the long run.
Each Orlando divorce lawyer at the Dewitt Law Firm pays particular attention to our clients’ needs and desires. Throughout the divorce process in Florida, we work with our clients to develop a strategy that maximizes the potential for achieving a favorable result. With over 35 years of experience, Sherri DeWitt has acquired the knowledge and the skills needed to provide effective and aggressive representation. Sherri and all the attorneys at the DeWitt Law firm use a variety of approaches in divorce cases, ranging from collaborative law, to mediation, and litigation when necessary.
Divorce can often be intricate and have many complex elements such as alimony, child support, custody or time-sharing, relocation, equitable distribution, business valuations, injunctions, and even domestic violence issues. The DeWitt Law Firm has the ability and knowledge to fully handle all facets of these complex and intricate matters. Our experience handling complex matters allows us to evaluate all elements of your case and to properly and adequately represent you through all aspects of your divorce.
The DeWitt Law Firm is one of a handful of firms in the Orlando, Florida area certified in the Collaborative Divorce process and is a member of the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida. Collaborative Law is an alternative to family law litigation in which a mutually acceptable agreement is reached without going to court. Collaborative law engages a team of professionals who work together to help you reach the best outcome for your family. It can be less costly than a litigated divorce and offers more privacy than traditional divorce litigation, since the process, discussions and negotiations are kept confidential. It is a more interactive and creative process than mediation and often can lead to the lessening of the stress and hostility that often accompanies divorce. However, if the collaborative process is unsuccessful, your collaborative lawyer cannot represent you at trial. If you are interested in the Collaborative Divorce process, we will gladly discuss it with you in more detail.
Further Reading: When should I consider a collaborative divorce?
Nobody can say with certainty how much your divorce will cost. However, given the issues in your divorce case, we can usually provide an estimate of the cost of the divorce through mediation. While you are simply paying for the time of the attorneys and paralegals, an experienced divorce attorney will be able to provide you with a reasonable estimate of a divorce given the specific issues in your case. If your divorce is contested and proceeds to trial, it will obviously be more expensive as trial can be time consuming. Additionally, you may also need to budget for the utilization of experts such as financial professionals, vocational evaluators, mental health experts, and a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL).
If a divorce is truly uncontested, it can take between 30 and 90 days to finalize the process. However, if the matter is contested and proceeds to mediation, the average time to finalize the divorce is between 3 and 6 months. If the parties are unable to settle at mediation and the case proceeds to trial, the average time to finalize the divorce is a year or longer depending on the judge’s schedule to get a trial date.
These time frames are averages based upon our prior experience. Depending on the complexity of the issues, cooperation of the parties, court schedules, and other unanticipated issues, the time frame may vary. The process may also be extended if either party files an appeal.
You are permitted to relocate within a 50-mile radius, after a divorce, as long as your Final Judgment or Marital Settlement Agreement does not provide otherwise. If you wish to relocate outside of the 50-mile radius, you must file a Petition for Relocation with the Court. It should be noted that a stay of less 60 days is generally not considered a relocation under Florida Statutes.
The court must decide, after hearing evidence and testimony, what is in the best interest of the minor child or children. The court looks at a variety of factors that are set forth in section 61.13, Florida Statutes, to make this determination. For example, the court looks at the history of the relationship between the children and each parent, the moral fitness of each parent, mental and physical health of each parent, the division of parental responsibilities after the divorce, the ability for each parent to provide a routine for the children, how the children relate to each parent, which parent is more likely to foster a good relationship between the children and the other parent, and which is more likely to share information and to encourage frequent time-sharing with the other. As these are only some of the factors that a court considers, it is important to consult with a family law attorney to fully evaluate your case.
In Florida, a final judgment may typically only be modified as to alimony, child support, timesharing, or parenting plan issues.
If seeking to modify a final judgment as to alimony or child support, the party seeking to modify must show a (1) substantial change in circumstances, (2) that was not contemplated at the time of the entry of the agreement or Final Judgment, (3) that is sufficient, material, involuntary, and permanent in nature has occurred. However, voluntary retirement is also a basis for a modification of alimony when the voluntary retirement is reasonable.
If seeking to modify a final judgment as to issues involving timesharing or parenting plan issues, the party seeking to modify must show (1) that a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances occurred after the original custody/visitation determination and (2) that the requested modification is in the children’s best interests.
If you believe that your situation warrants a modification of the Final Judgment, please speak to attorney to determine whether a Petition to Modify may be appropriate.
You are not required to have an attorney to proceed with a divorce. However, it is recommended that you have an attorney assist you as the process can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own.