Starting the divorce process can seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you have limited experience with the local court system. Fortunately, a skilled legal professional could help you enter into divorce proceedings smoothly, and their assistance could make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. If you are unsure of how to begin the process of ending your marriage, reach out to a West Palm Beach attorney who could guide you through the initial steps of your divorce.
Filing for Divorce
The first thing that someone pursuing divorce must do is file a petition. The spouse who files the petition is making the demand on the grounds for the divorce, such as irreconcilable differences. They must ensure that they have met all of the requirements to file, such as the residency requirement.
Another component of this process requires the filing party to outline any key issues that they want addressed in the divorce proceedings, such as the request for alimony or specific provisions of a parenting plan. If the filing spouse is asking for the division of assets and liabilities, they must also make a specific request. Florida is a notice pleading state, so the filing party in Palm Beach County is obligated to inform their former partner and the court of the types of relief they want. Their requests do not need to be particularly detailed, but they must be documented in order to receive their requested relief.
Other requests could include the restoration of the filing party’s maiden name, or relocation relief (if they are planning on moving more than 50 miles away from their current residence with their children for more than 60 days). A West Palm Beach attorney could ensure that all of these matters are appropriately addressed in an individual’s request for a divorce.
Role of the Filing Party
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that the parties in a divorce do not have to prove adultery, cruel and unusual treatment, abandonment or any other harmful act to justify their grounds for divorce. Irreconcilable differences is the major ground for divorce in the state.
As a result, the role of the filing spouse is not as important in the initial steps of a Palm Beach County divorce. The one advantage that the filing spouse has is getting to present their case first if there is a contested final hearing.
Responding to the Petition
The initial step that an individual responding to a West Palm Beach divorce petition must complete is to file a brief answer and a potential counter-petition. Generally, both documents go together. The answer will address the allegations made in the petition, and their counter-petition will include the terms of relief that they will request from the judge.
The responding party cannot contest their spouse’s right to obtain a divorce. If one spouse wants to get divorced, they are allowed to do so because Florida is a no-fault state. However, the responding spouse can contest the relief requested in the petition, such as the amount of alimony or child support payments or how assets will be divided. These issues will be resolved through litigation or mediation later on in the divorce proceedings.
A West Palm Beach Attorney Could Serve a Crucial Role in the Initial Stages of Your Divorce
An experienced attorney’s role in the early stages of your divorce is to closely examine the facts of your case and ensure that you understand your obligations. They could serve as your litigator and advocate, and the advice that they provide in the beginning of the proceedings could help you achieve the terms that you want in your final contract. Call a Palm Beach County attorney today to discuss how you should approach the initial steps in your divorce.