Divorce is Tough
Divorce is one of the hardest ordeals an individual will ever experience. The emotions that accompany the end of a relationship, the uncertainty over child custody, and the financial impact of your divorce can inhibit your ability to function in your daily life. In some cases, a resolution will not be reached.
Occasionally the other party can act irrationally, hide or deplete assets, or rack up marital debt. In other cases, they may be minimizing contact between the children or causing issues, making them unfit to exercise substantial custody. If you're currently experiencing this hardship, Denmon & Denmon can help.
Our Tampa Bay Area divorce and family law attorneys have the knowledge and expertise to help you through your marital split and put you on the path to recovery. Here's what our previous clients had to say about us.
Have a specific question about a practice area in divorce law? You can review the practice areas we service below.
Denmon & Denmon Divorce & Family Law Practice Areas
- Military Divorce - In the military, dissolution of marriage involves guidelines and laws that are unique only to the members of the armed services and their families.
- Child Support - Raising a child is expensive. Establishing child support payments will help give a parent and child the money they need to survive.
- Child Custody - Parents are given equal consideration and time-sharing arrangements are established based on the child’s best interests, regardless of their age or gender.
- Post Divorce Modifications - Even after a divorce is finalized, it may be necessary to make changes agreements that were made.
- Mediation - Spouses that agree to a divorce can choose to elect a mediator who will help the couple reach an ideal resolution.
- Child Relocation - When moving before or after a divorce, spouses will need to reach a consensus regarding the child's custody and location.
- Alimony - Alimony is determined by a spouse’s needs, their ability to pay for those necessities, and their partner’s earning capacity.
- Women's Divorce - Women face a myriad of divorce issues that are specific to them, especially if they were stay-at-home moms or want more custody of their children.
- Men's Divorce - Men stand to lose a lot during a divorce, including time with their children, money, and, in some cases, a portion of their retirement funds.
Discover your options for divorce, get your case heard, and get the great results you deserve.
1. Should I be the first to file? How do I get a divorce and how long do the proceedings last?
During the process, you will need to file a financial affidavit articulating income, expenses, assets, and debts. If children are involved, you will also need to take a parenting class, articulate a proposed parenting plan, and propose child support guidelines. Filing promptly can be an important tactical advantage. For example, if the other party is threatening to take your children to another place, filing quickly will allow the court to prevent your spouse from relocating the children without permission.
The breadwinner spouse should file as soon as possible, as income earned after the date of filing will usually be deemed as belonging solely to the earner spouse, and not subject to distribution by the divorce courts. On a related note, if there is a likelihood the breadwinner spouse will cut off the needy spouse financially, they’ll want to file in a timely manner to receive the court’s jurisdiction. If you’re in an emergency situation, filing first is imperative.
The court system moves slowly, and the first in line for aide is the first heard by the judge. As far as being the first to file, this is only a concern when there are two courts that are both deemed appropriate for a case hearing. In these rare circumstances, the first to the courthouse gets to pick the location of the case. The length of the proceedings can be as short as a month and as long as a year, though they can stretch beyond this time. The more issues the parties cannot resolve, the longer the divorce process takes.
2. My spouse won’t pay alimony or child support while we’re waiting for our final hearing. What can I do?
Fortunately, you have the ability to seek temporary relief by way of the court to help you financially until the trial. However, it can take a few weeks or months to get to hearing on the matter unless there’s an emergency. If there is an emergency situation, your divorce attorney has two ways to get relief quickly.
First, the attorney will promptly seek to set a mediation in an attempt to resolve the issues without court intervention. This is often fruitful on temporary matters, because the court may act punitively (in a manner of speaking) on the offending spouse in litigation. While judges do their best to act within the confines of the law, they are human beings, and will have little sympathy for the spouse who leaves their children and needy spouse out in the cold. Second, the attorney can act aggressively in seeking legal fee reimbursement from the other spouse.
The prospect of paying two sets of attorney fees can be enough to encourage the offending spouse to pay reasonable temporary alimony and child support. By being reasonable and minimizing attorney fees, the breadwinner spouse will directly improve their financial bottom line.
3. Can’t I just represent myself?
However, divorces often involve drastic changes to a person's life and financial situation. There’s typically a splitting of assets, debts, and child visitation. Furthermore, a divorcee may have to make child or spousal support payments for an extended period of time.
With such important issues on the line, you should seriously consider seeking legal representation from a professional who practices primarily in divorce and family law.
4. What happens to my assets during a divorce?
The first step in a divorce matter is determining which assets belong to you, and which assets are jointly owned with your spouse. Personal assets that you own are free and clear from any claim of your spouse. These are referred to as non-marital assets. These include assets and debts acquired by a spouse before the marriage, or were acquired in exchange for these assets, such as:
- Assets gifted by a parent to a spouse in their name only
- Assets given by a deceased family member to a spouse as part of a will or trust
- Income derived from an asset that was not intermingled with marital funds or joint accounts
The remaining property and valuables are marital assets. These were acquired during the marriage and can be jointly or singly titled. They are indivisible only if they fall into the previously mentioned non-marital exception. Typically, there’s a 50/50 division of assets, but in certain cases the court may decide that an unequal division is appropriate.
5. Can my spouse and I use the same lawyer?
A lawyer may not ethically represent both spouses during a divorce proceeding. This is true even if both parties believe their case to be uncontested. Furthermore, there are potential conflicts of interest regarding asset distribution, alimony, child support, child custody, attorney fees, and many other issues.
Lawyers are ethically obligated to exercise their professional judgment in advising the clients, even if the client has a standing agreement with his or her spouse. In other words, if you’re the deal you’ve agreed to outside of court is not advantageous, your divorce attorney will advise you against taking it.
As you can see, if the lawyer represented both spouses, providing a deal’s pros and cons to each party would not lead to an optimal resolution. In many uncontested divorces, a spouse will retain an attorney, and provide explicit instructions to work amicably and quickly with the other spouse to reach a resolution.
Even if a deal is reached, the lawyer typically advises the unrepresented spouse to seek the advice of another attorney before committing to any decision in the case.