A divorce action, which begins when one party files a petition asking the court to dissolve a marriage, may be either contested or uncontested. A divorce is uncontested when both parties agree to the terms of the legal separation (i.e. dissolution). The parties’ agreement must be reduced to a written contract, a marital settlement agreement, which generally provides for the division of marital assets and liabilities, any payment of spousal support, and must establish the terms of custody and child support, if the parties’ share a child. Conversely, a divorce is contested whenever the parties to an action are not in agreement as to the terms of the dissolution. In many Florida counties, parties to a contested divorce are required to attend mediation, an informal meeting during which the parties and their respective attorneys, with the help of a neutral, third-party, will attempt to reach an agreement on the terms of separation. A successful mediation will result in a signed marital settlement agreement, often removing the need for a trial.
For most people, the words “Family Law” bring to mind divorce, however, Family Law issues frequently arise outside of the context of a divorce or even where parties were never married. For instance, a Florida court may, under some circumstances, order a spouse to provide financial support to his or her spouse, even if neither spouse has filed for divorce. Similarly, a court may order a biological parent to provide child support to another parent, even where a marriage has never existed between the parties. Other issues that fall beneath the umbrella of Family Law include adoptions and actions to establish paternity.
To learn more about a specific area within Family Law, choose from the following categories:
When facing decisions regarding family law matters, it’s important to know what protections you are entitled to by virtue of our Federal and State constitutions, as well as other applicable laws. The counsel of a qualified, Family Law attorney can help you to avoid unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and prevent long-lasting regrets.
The lawyers at Risen & Ryan have the combined experience of more than 40 years counseling people through life’s most difficult challenges and fighting for the rights of our clients in thousands of court hearings. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 850-864-1951 or complete the form below.
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