Often clients merely want to know if they have any alternatives to divorce or simply want to understand the divorce procedure. The lawyers at ASG in Fort Walton Beach and Destin, FL. have the experience and knowledge to properly and patiently explain these matters to their clients, and guide them through this difficult and complex process.
There are no cases too large or too small for our law firm. ASG’s lawyers have represented clients in some of the most complex divorce cases in Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa Counties. We also represent persons who have modest incomes and assets.
Whether you simply want a consultation or you need a lawyer to represent you in a contested case, the lawyers at ASG would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss your case and rights.
Our practice areas for Divorce and Family Law include the following:
- Child Custody and Visitation
- Child Support
- Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
- Domestic Violence / Domestic Violence Injunctions
- Contempt Actions
- Separation Agreements
Contact one of our Experienced Divorce and Family Law Attorneys:
How Can We Help You?
Divorce and family law disputes are not something anyone wants to experience. Unfortunately, you may have found yourself in the middle of one of these unpleasant situations. Our team of divorce lawyers and family law attorneys are skilled and knowledgeable in these matters. We can help with issues like child custody (parental responsibility and timesharing), child support, establishment or disestablishment of paternity, enforcement of final judgments, and many other areas as well.
At Anchors, Smith, and Grimsley you will not find a more dedicated team of family law lawyers and divorce attorneys to assist you. ASG prides itself on its dedication to providing excellent legal service to each client.
There are many reasons an individual may contact us. Do you need to speak with a child support lawyer to find out what options are available to you? A custody attorney can be a real lifesaver in a disputed custody case or extremely difficult divorce proceedings.
A lawyer for child support may also be needed in the case of unwed parents or during a contested divorce. No matter what your reason for calling, whether for advice or representation, we are here to help.
Breaking Down Family Law with Anchors Smith Grimsley
What does each area of Family Law entail?
The legal term for Divorce is “dissolution of marriage.” Often the decisions made during divorce will govern the parties lives for decades or, in some cases, for the remainder their lives. Issues that will need to be addressed include:
- parental responsibility and timesharing of any children and child support for them;
- alimony, which can come in many forms, durational, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, lump-sum, and permanent;
- division of assets like pensions, retirement, investments, businesses, real estate, cars & other vehicles, firearms, equipment, household personal property, and many more;
- division of liabilities like mortgages, credit cards, student loans, car loans, taxes and others;
- attorney’s fees can be awarded to either party; and
- there are many other issues that may need to be addressed.
Child Custody in Florida is divided into two parts, Parental Responsibility and Timesharing, both of which must be addressed in any divorce involving minor children. Each part is very much like its name, Parental Responsibility involves issues related to decision making for minor children. Questions like, who decides where the children will go to school, will the children go to church or other religious activities, will they play football, what extracurricular activities will they do, will they travel internationally, and many more. Timesharing involves creating a parenting plan that governs with which parent the children will spend their time and the logistics related to that decision. In some circumstances, particularly when illegal drugs or domestic violence have been issues in the home, timesharing may have to be supervised by a third party.
Separate from Parental Responsibility and Timesharing, but related to it, is Child Support. The Court will likely establish Child Support early in the divorce process. Child Support is determined by applying a mathematical calculation using the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. Important factors in this calculation include income of the parties, overnight timesharing, and payment of medical and child care expenses, among others. Although a mathematical calculation is used, that calculation is greatly influenced by the numbers which are put into the formula. Having excellent legal representation can greatly assist in determining the appropriate amount of support.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements are agreements the two parties signed either before (pre) or after (post) they were married. Almost always, these agreements refer to money and assets. Litigation often surrounds one of these agreements during a divorce.
Domestic Violence is an unfortunate reality in many people’s lives. We represent clients that need protection from domestic violence by filing for a Domestic Violence Injunction. Sometimes, people are falsely accused of domestic violence and a vigorous defense is critical to both the divorce case and the accused’s civil rights and future employment opportunities. The results of the issuance of a domestic violence injunction can be devastating for someone falsely accused.
Contempt Actions can be an issue when a party does not follow the order established by the family court.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys
If you are going through a divorce or family dispute, or you need a child custody attorney, you need someone to represent you who understands family and divorce law. Choose a team of attorneys with the know-how, the experience, and the passion to protect your interests from start to finish.
Take a moment to meet our team of skilled family law lawyers. Our webpage contains more information you can read about the various areas of law that we cover, including family law and divorce law. You can also reach us by calling 850-863-4064 and set up an appointment to speak with our team of family law attorneys.
What is the Process for Getting a Divorce?
Initiation of the case. Either party may file a petition for dissolution of marriage. The responding party then has twenty days from the date of service to respond. Assuming both parties want to get divorced, the response usually comes in the form of a counter-petition. The purpose of the counter-petition is to ask the court to give the responding party the relief they are requesting. Additionally, if the party that originally filed ends up dismissing the action at any point before the parties are divorced, the counter-petition allows the responding party to still obtain a divorce. Without it, the responding party would have to file all over and start from scratch.
Discovery. Once the petition is filed, discovery can start. Discovery is the process of asking for information from the opposing party and third parties. This can be done with written questions (called interrogatories), written requests for documents, and depositions – asking questions of a person while they are under oath. In addition to those things, in a divorce, there are special requirements to turn over certain documents and information automatically. The deadlines to comply run quickly, and failure to provide required documents and information can have very negative consequences.
Temporary Relief Hearing. At the same time, if the issues of the case need to be resolved on a temporary basis, before the final hearing, the parties can schedule a hearing for temporary relief. The court may then consider any issues in the case, like timesharing, child support, alimony, and others, on a temporary basis until the parties are ready for a trial.
Hearings on temporary relief are sometimes referred to as a “mini-trial” because most of the issues in the divorce may be addressed and receive a ruling from the court. Typically, this ruling is a good gauge for what will happen at the final hearing unless significantly new or different information is provided to the court. So, preparation for the hearing on temporary relief can be critical.
Mediation. Again, while all of this is happening, the parties will schedule mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement and control their own destiny. If they are unable to reach an agreement voluntarily, the Court will make the decisions on the issues at the final hearing. Usually, parties are motivated to reach a settlement at mediation. By the time litigation has reached that point, the parties may be ready to compromise in order to settle the case and move on.
Final Hearing/Trial. Finally, after everything described has taken place, if the parties still cannot reach an agreement, it is time to set the case for trial. Each side will prepare its case and tell its side of the story to the court. The court will then render a final decision on the issues and dissolve the marriage by entering a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.
Post-Judgment. It would be nice if getting a final judgment of dissolution of marriage were the end, but it usually isn’t. Most divorces require the parties to continue to stay in contact for a variety of reasons like, co-parenting, support payments, payment of debt, liquidation of assets, and other reasons. In some cases, this contact may last for life. And if one party is not complying with the court’s order, additional legal work may be required to enforce the final judgment of dissolution of marriage. This is why having an excellent attorney is so critical. A dissolution of marriage may affect you for the rest of your life. You want everything done correctly.
Timing. Contested divorces can take time. Very complicated divorces can continue years before a final resolution is reached. However, a typical divorce, if settled before trial, will be completed in less than a year. How long your divorce takes will largely be up to you. Being responsive to your attorney when asked for documents and information is important. Additionally, being willing to compromise and settle a case will also greatly speed up the process. However, sometimes, the other spouse is not willing to be reasonable and the case must go to trial. In this case, be ready for the process to continue longer than you would like or expect.
Definition. In stark contrast to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree on how ALL of the issues will be resolved. For us, as divorce attorneys, this drastically reduces the work involved and the cost. We take the information provided to us about the agreement, advise our client of their legal rights and responsibilities, put the agreement into the correct legal language, and make sure all appropriate documents are properly completed. Then, we give your spouse and their divorce attorney those documents. Once both parties have signed all the documents, they are filed with the court, and typically, a final judgment of dissolution of marriage can be obtained without a hearing.
A Word of Caution. If the other party does not sign the first time the documents are presented, you no longer have an uncontested divorce. Once negotiation begins, your divorce is contested. Now, a small negotiation is still better than taking a case to trial, but it is additional work and cost nonetheless.
Timing. The timeline for an uncontested divorce can be very compressed. Depending on the court’s calendar and availability, and other factors, an uncontested divorce can usually be accomplished in less than 3-5 months. You can greatly assist in speeding up the process by having your financial documents ready and fully discussing all the issues with your spouse in advance.