Jessica Serrano, from Marrero Chamizo Marcer Law, LP, answers 5 questions about Divorce in Florida.
I am getting a divorce; Do I need to hire an attorney?
I would recommend hiring an attorney because, in the divorce, everything has to be split equally. You have debts, you have assets. If you have a mortgage on your home if you have equity in your home if you have a car. If you have children, you have child support. They can help facilitate the division of all these assets and debts, and they can also help facilitate a reasonable time-sharing plan and child support for the children if they’re involved as well.
How is legal separation different from a divorce?
In Florida there is no legal separation, there is only divorce, so I would recommend speaking with an attorney if you’re thinking about divorce, or some type of separation because you have assets and liabilities that continue to accrue until the date you file for divorce. If you are thinking about that, I would speak with an attorney because the assets and liabilities would continue to accrue, there is no legal separation, so if you’re separated for two years and you win the lottery, that would be a marital asset.
In my Florida divorce case, what is a petition?
A petition is the piece of paper that initiates the action, that’s the one that you’re filing with the court, telling the court that you are married and now you want a divorce. That petition is also going to be the paperwork that is served and given to the other party to let them know that you filed for divorce and put them on notice that there is going to be a divorce action pending against them.
What if my spouse cannot be found or evades service of the divorce papers?
Florida law does allow an alternative for this if they cannot be found. There’s an avenue of publication, meaning you would publish in the newspaper for two consecutive weeks the style of the case, letting the party know that a suit has been filed against them for divorce, and once you do that for two weeks, that would be considered proper service of notifying the other party of the action.
In my Florida divorce case, Does the mediator meet with the spouses separately or together?
It all depends on what the parties’ preference is. The parties could be in the same room with the mediator and you can conduct the mediation with all parties together, or, if the parties do not wish to be in the same room together, then you can be in separate rooms and the mediator will meet with each party separately and go back and forth to the rooms to discuss their issues to try to come to a resolution. It’s all your preference and what you feel more comfortable with.