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Obtaining a divorce through litigation in Palm Beach County can be an overwhelming process without the proper legal representation. Each stage of your divorce will include its own set of steps, from the filing process to the final hearing, and you may benefit from having a qualified professional at your side to address your questions and concerns as they arise. An experienced attorney could provide valuable peace of mind throughout the process of your West Palm Beach litigated divorce and help you achieve an outcome that suits your family’s needs.
The first step in the process of any divorce case in Palm Beach County is to file a petition with the court. The non-filing party will be served and will have 20 days in which to respond. Both parties will also have 45 days from the date of service to exchange certain financial documents and information, which is called mandatory financial disclosure.
After this information is exchanged, there may be other discovery requests to obtain additional documents so that both parties have a full understanding of each other’s financial situation. Other such discovery devices may include deposition, request for admissions, subpoena to issue to non-part, and interrogatories. A skilled attorney could compile all of the available evidence to create a thorough analysis regarding the extent of the couple’s financial or child-related issues to enhance their case.
At some point, the court may schedule a temporary relief hearing to address any issues that need to be temporarily resolved during the litigation process, or the parties will come to an agreement about the temporary terms during mediation.
Before the final hearing, the parties must attend mediation again. If they do not settle all the issues at the final mediation, they will appear in court, and the judge will enter the final orders of each spouse’s rights and responsibilities and officially grant the divorce.
In the Palm Beach County court system, the length of a divorce typically ranges from a year to 18 months if it is litigated and contested. Factors that can contribute to a case’s length include the animosity of the parties, the complexity of its issues, (such as the involvement of children or allegations of abuse or alienation). Complicated land, trusts, or property issues can also extend the length of the case.
Additionally, the attitudes of the spouses and/or their attorneys can affect the length of the process and purposely uncooperative fashion. If either spouse acts purposefully uncooperative, it may take extra time to complete the necessary steps. The availability of the judge could also determine how long the process takes, as a crowded docket will typically result in some delays.
If you are planning to enter into contested divorce proceedings in Palm Beach County, you should consult a local lawyer right away. It may prove beneficial in the long run to start strategizing early, as extensive legal preparation could strengthen your case. A seasoned attorney could help you understand the nuances of the laws surrounding the West Palm Beach litigated divorce process and allow you to navigate the court system with ease. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.