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Divorce FAQ: Answers from a Plant City Divorce Lawyer

How long will it take to get divorced?
The divorce process can vary in length of time, based upon whether a trial is necessary. A simple, uncontested divorce can be completed in a very short amount of time, about 4 – 5 weeks. If the case must be resolved at trial, it could take up to a year or longer, based upon court schedules, the number of issues that are in contention, and the complexity of the case.

Do I need to have a lawyer to get divorced?
You are not required to have an attorney to get divorced, but it is strongly advised that you do. Even in a simple uncontested divorce, all paperwork must be in order and filed correctly. If you fail to do so, you will stall the process and create problems for yourself. With the help of an attorney, you can be confident that everything is completed properly so the divorce can be finalized without any complications.

How will the court make a decision about child custody?
Both parents have equal parental rights, and must submit a parenting plan that outlines where the children will live, and how time will be shared between the two parents. The best interests of the child will be the guiding principle in a decision on child custody matters that are in contention. If one parent is believed to be a danger to the children, there must be compelling supporting data provided to the court that supports this fact. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or the children have suffered abuse, or one parent is a drug addict, alcoholic, has neglected the child(ren) in the past, or is currently incarcerated, this will impact the court's decision.

Can a child say where he/she would prefer to live?
The preference of the child with regard to where he or she would like to live will be considered in making a decision about child custody. It can be very stressful for a child to testify in court, and if these matters can be resolved in another manner, it may be a healthier situation for your child. Mediation is a good option to sort matters out and avoid a trial.

How are property and debt divided in divorce?
The property is divided under the concept of "equitable distribution." In other words, not a 50/50 division, but in a manner that makes sense with regard to value and desert. For example, one spouse could buy out the interest in the family home, or property could be sold and the proceeds split. Debts are also divided and each party will be responsible for certain payments. This is an important matter, as if you are responsible for any debt accrued as a couple, and your spouse fails to pay, the creditor could come back to you in the future, so these matters must be carefully evaluated and protections put in place so that you don't face trouble in the future, should your former spouse fail to pay a debt.

Can I get a divorce, even if my spouse does not want to end the marriage?
Yes. If you believe that your marriage cannot be mended, you have the right to file for divorce whether the other party agrees or not.

Do you have questions about divorce? Contact me at my firm so I can discuss your concerns.

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Law Office of Keith Will Wynne, Esq. - Plant City Bankruptcy Lawyer

Plant City Office - 1001 E. Baker Street, Suite 101, Plant City, FL 33563. Phone: (813) 567-5894 | Local Phone: (813) 752-3100.

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