Family Law

If you are visiting this website chances are that you or someone close to you is going through divorce or is having problems with related issues. This is a stressful experience for anyone. It can affect your mental state, your work performance. It can even send you into a depression that can cause irreparable damage to you and your family. It is important to know that you have already taken a positive step forward in resolving your problem. In your effort to find proper representation you should take certain steps so that your decision will be an informed one.

If this is a problem arising out of a past divorce then you should have the following documents with you.

  • A copy of the divorce decree.
  • A copy of the marital settlement agreement relating to this case.
  • Any prior motions or pleadings that you have with you.
  • Try to have the name of the judge.
  • Address of the person that is opposing you.

Make sure you put everything in an organized file. If it’s a divorce then have a financial affidavit ready and filled out. Have a list of all your personal property, both yours and the opposing side. Have a list of all the real property either one of you has an interest in. If you do not have these forms you could get them from the forms link on this website. In going through this ordeal you will have your ups and down emotionally. This is why it’s important to have the check list ready and to write everything down. If you think your spouse might take off with the children, have an address ready of where you think they may take them.

Once you have decided to file for divorce, my advice is to tell the other side what you are doing. Don’t let it be a surprise. This could set of a reaction that could prove to be costly to your family. This advice is different than advice given by many other lawyers who may think that you should not give any warning. Be careful with listening to such advice. Remember lawyers make money from the litigation and that money comes from what you and your ex are going to be billed. You will decide if you are going to pay unnecessary attorney’s fees. It is easy to fall into this trap. You will be angry and may want to take a shot at the other side. Remember feeding into this type of behavior with not only prove to be costly financially but it could also cause great emotional harm to a family already in pain.

The divorce process begins by one of the parties to the marriage filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This petition must state that the party filing wants to divorce the other. The petition must also state the following:

  • That the party filing has been a continuous resident of the Florida county in which the petition was filed for at least 6 months.
  • The date when the couple was married and where.
  • Name(s) of child(ren) if any.
  • That the marriage is irretrievably broken.
  • Whether there is any property of the marriage, real or personal.
  • Request for child support or alimony if applicable.
  • Any other request the party may feel they are entitled to.

The petition is signed and notarized. It is usually filed along with the financial affidavit. If there are children of the marriage then a UCCJA must be also be filed. This petition is filed in the county in which the petitioner has resided in for the last six months. When you file this petition the individual filing will be required to pay a filing fee. The filing fee is $409.00. The individual will also be required to prepare a summons that will be served along with the complaint. The filing fee to have the summons issued is $10.00. To be sure ask the clerk in the county where you live. The process server will take this summons along with the complaint and serve it on the opposing side.

The individual being served will have 20 days to file what is called an answer. This answer will state what the individual being served wants. After the answer has been filed the parties will being the process known as “discovery”. This is the process of gathering information from the other side. The following instruments are used to gather that information.

  • Depositions.
  • Interrogatories.
  • Request to produce.

Once the parties are done with discovery they will both be ready for trial. At this point either party can file a pleading requesting trial. It is called a notice of trial. Once this is done the court will order both parties to mediate before trial. This will be set out in what is called a pretrial order. The order will have a status conference where a date could be set for the trial. The trial will be a bench trial (there will not be a jury). At the mediation the parties will try to resolve some or all of the following issues:

  • Child Custody of Children if applicable.
  • Child Visitation.
  • Division of real and personal property.
  • Child Support.
  • Alimony.
  • How to handle relocation or travel.
  • Attorney’s fees (who is going to pay).
  • Any other issue that is applicable to your particular facts.

Both parties will attempt to enter into a marital settlement agreement which would cover the above mentioned issues. If they are able to enter into an agreement both sides will sign the agreement and then a date will be set for the judge to sign off on the agreement. One of the parties will set a hearing to go before judge so the judge can sign off on the divorce and verify that both parties entered the agreement freely and voluntary. The judge will sign the final order and the parties will be divorced and the agreement will outline how the assets of the marriage will be divided and how their responsibility to each other and the children will be handled.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement then the parties will go to trial and the judge will decide all the issues for them. In cases dealing these kinds of issues there is a much higher success rate when people enter into an agreement between the parties as opposed to the judge doing it for them.

The Law Office of Eric Clayman, P.A., takes a different approach to these types of cases. We attempt mediation as quickly as possible. We do everything to avoid unnecessary litigation. We address the problems that lead to litigation immediately. We set the case for trial as quickly as possible as this helps to bring the case to conclusion, saving the client thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Please go to our ask a question section and email us any question(s) and we will be happy to review it and send you back an answer. This website has multiple functions to help you get through this painful experience.

Let our experience and knowledge work for you.

I will provide you with definitions for the below listed hyperlinks

  • Divorce
  • Divorce Mediation
  • Postnuptial & Prenuptial Agreement
  • Paternity & Father’s Rights
  • Child Support Modifications
  • Adoption
  • Alimony
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support and Visitation
  • Division of property

Eric H. Clayman, P.A. has successfully represented individuals on charges ranging from low level second degree misdemeanors up to capital offenses such as human trafficking and murder. He has developed a reputation for operating ethically while aggressively defending the interests of his clients.

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