Tampa Divorce Lawyer (2023)

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Serving the Greater Tampa Bay Area

Tampa Divorce Lawyer (1) Divorce is rarely something people look forward to—even if it is a mutual agreement between spouses to separate and divorce. Even if you believe it’s the best decision for you and your spouse, you probably still aren’t looking forward to what lies ahead. An experienced Tampa divorce lawyer that’s knowledgeable in Florida laws can answer questions and help you with tough decisions.

Despite what you’ve been told or what you have read online, divorce does not have to be a battle or otherwise negative process. In fact, there are far more amicable divorces than nasty ones.

The vast majority of divorces end by agreement or mediation. Unfortunately, bad experiences tend to get the most attention and make the most noise. We do everything we can to educate our clients about divorce laws and the legal system and empower our clients to take control of the process.

For many people, divorce is the first time they have ever stepped foot inside a lawyer’s office or a courtroom. There is a lot of new legal terminology to digest and a lot to take on, which is why our team is here for you at every stage. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help clients all throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including the towns of Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Plant City.

Divorce & Children

Divorce is often a very emotional situation. Both parties often have a difficult time ending the marriage and dividing the assets and establishing legal obligations to their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Determining child custody and parental rights is often the most difficult task for both parties.

Tampa Divorce Lawyer (2)

Florida believes strongly in shared parental responsibility. It is very difficult to establish sole custody or single parent status in a divorce in Florida unless there has been documented abuse of the children presented to the Court.

Even then, Florida may provide the other parent with the right to visit their children under special protective circumstances.

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It is the belief of the Florida courts that regardless of the ability of the parents to get along in a marriage, they are both responsible for the upbringing of the children.

Even if the children live with one parent more than the other, both parents retain a legal right to make decisions about the health and welfare of the children of the marriage.

The Court will require that a parenting plan is created and presented to the Court for approval before the finalization of the divorce is granted. This parenting plan will include living arrangements, visitation rights, decision making plans, and all other issues pertaining to the welfare of the children.

Required Parenting Class

Florida now requires that all parents attend a Court approved parenting class prior to the dissolution of marriage. This class is designed to prepare the parents for raising children as a single parent and informs them of their responsibilities to the other parent after the divorce.

This is a mandatory class and varies in length by county. Your divorce attorney will inform you of the available classes in your area. Proof of completion is necessary for the divorce to be finalized.

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Child Support

Financial support of the children is determined on the net wages of both parents and the number of children in the marriage. Florida Statutes has created a chart that establishes the amount of child support that is necessary based on these two factors. Preference is not given to either parent at this point; the support is based on income levels alone.

However, there may be other factors that are presented to the Court that may require one or the either parent to provide additional forms of support while the children are minors.

This may include:

  • Health insurance coverage for children
  • Additional support for special needs children
  • Expenses related to schooling
  • Expenses related to extracurricular activities

Establishing support guidelines is often the most difficult part of the negotiation process for finalizing the divorce. Although Florida has established specific guidelines for support amounts, there are often too many other circumstances surrounding the support to just go by these figures.

Your Tampa child support attorneywill have to create a support plan for the children and present it to the opposing attorney for their approval. Once negotiations are completed, the final figures must be presented to the court for approval.

The Court reserves the right to change or alter any support plans if it feels that the plan is not in the best interest of the children.

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Relocation of the Children After Divorce

Florida has very strict laws and procedures concerning the relocation of children after a divorce. Relocation is defined as moving 50 or more miles from the area where the children currently live for a period of 60 or more consecutive days.

Divorced parents must understand that relocating the children without the express consent of the other parent, and with the proper court documentation filed and approved, is against Florida law.

Parents who desire to relocate their children must file a petition with the Court establishing that they need to relocate and the reason for that relocation. The other parent is given a limited number of days to respond to that petition. The response, or lack of will determine how the Court rules on the relocation petition.

Overall Best Interest of the Children

Overall, the best interest of the children is always foremost on the agenda of the Florida Court System. Florida does not give preference to either parent when it comes to custody or support, and encourages both parents to take part in raising the children, even though they are divorced.

The Court will always consider outside factors regarding the children, such as who the child has a closer relationship with or work schedules. They will determine who can provide the most care and how to establish a visitation and living arrangement that is best suited for all parties involved.

While the adults in the marriage are going through a very emotional time when they are getting divorced, the children often suffer the most. Adults can forget how traumatizing the divorce is on the children. The Court wants to make sure that they are protected as much as possible during this stressful time.

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Partner with our Expert Family Lawyers

With huge decisions on the horizon and your future on the line, it’s important to find an experienced and reputable divorce lawyer in the Tampa area who gets it. You need a partner, not a boss.

You want an ally who is willing to help and guide you, not drag you down a path that is unfamiliar and frightening. You want someone who will give you the knowledge and power to make your own decisions and take control of your own life.

Family law is one of the most complicated areas of law because it delves deep into the heart of human relationships. These are not cases about broken contracts or damaged business agreements.

Family law cases involve the most fundamental aspects of our lives, and if not handled appropriately, the effects can impact you and your family for the rest of your lives.

This is why it is incredibly important to choose a divorce lawyer who cares about the legal outcome of your case and your future.

Speak to a Tampa Divorce Lawyer Today

Whether this is your first marriage or you have been married before, you probably have a lot of questions. We look forward to talking to you about the issues in your case and the strategies available to you. Family and matrimonial law is our main focus, so we offer unrivaled knowledge and experience.

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Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you create a case plan designed to achieve your goals, conserve your assets, and bring about a peaceful resolution to your family law matter. Our Tampa divorce lawyers help clients in Clearwater, St. Petersburgh, and Plant City. We also help clients that live in Pasco County, Pinellas County as well as Hillsborough County.

FAQs

How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Florida? ›

How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Florida? Divorce lawyers in Florida typically charge between $260 and $330 per hour, depending on their experience and where they are located. Divorce attorneys in larger cities tend to charge more than out-state attorneys.

How much does a divorce cost near Tampa FL? ›

The cost of uncontested divorce in Florida is: Under $500 if you complete the paperwork yourself and file without a lawyer. Under $650 if you get online help with the paperwork and filing instructions to file without an attorney. Around $3,000-$5,000 if a lawyer takes care of everything.

What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer in Florida? ›

The typical total cost of a Florida divorce lawyer is around $11,000 to $14,000, but the expense in instances with no contested issues will be considerably less. The court will require you to pay a retainer fee of between $2,000 and $5,000, and all legal expenses will be subtracted from the amount.

What if I can't afford a divorce lawyer in Florida? ›

If you have a civil legal problem but cannot afford to hire a private lawyer, you still may have access to the legal system through your local legal services-legal aid organization which provides free or low cost legal services to persons with low incomes.

Is FL A 50/50 divorce state? ›

Under Florida divorce law, all marital property is subject to an equitable distribution. Typically, the court will divide marital property 50/50, unless there are reasons why an equal split would be inequitable (unfair).

How long will divorce take in Florida? ›

The length of time it takes to get a divorce in Florida depends on the type of divorce. A simplified divorce may take 30 days. An uncontested divorce may range from 4 to 6 weeks. A contested divorce may take up to six months, a year, maybe several years depending on the disputes within the marriage.

How long does divorce take in Tampa? ›

How long does it take to get a divorce in Tampa? If both parties cooperate 100% and agree on everything, then it could be done in as little as two weeks. If the parties disagree and it becomes contested, and there are many complex issues, then it could take well over a year.

How does Florida calculate alimony? ›

How is alimony calculated in Florida? Alimony in Florida is calculated based upon need and ability to pay. The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers provides a guideline, which takes 30% of the payer's gross annual income minus 20% of the payee's gross annual income to estimate the alimony.

How many years do you have to be married to get alimony in Florida? ›

There is a rebuttable presumption for an award of permanent alimony in a long-term marriage, which is 17 years or longer. There is no presumption for or against permanent alimony in a moderate-term marriage, which is a marriage greater than 7 years but less than 17 years.

What is the cheapest way to get a divorce in Florida? ›

A cheap divorce in Florida can be obtained only if spouses have compromised and agreed on asset and debt division, financial aspects, and child support and care. If the couple meets these conditions, they do not need to hire a lawyer and may get a cheap online divorce on their own.

How much does divorce cost if both parties agree? ›

If both parties agree on all major issues, known as an uncontested divorce, you can keep the costs relatively low. If you do your own divorce papers and your divorce is amicable, costs could be under $500. Of course, there are filing fees in all states, which increase the cost.

How much is a simple divorce in Florida? ›

Most Florida counties charge $408 to file a divorce, but a few charge $409. Duval County will penalize you for not having an attorney and will add an extra $12 to the cost.

Can a divorce be denied in Florida? ›

In Florida, you cannot outright refuse a divorce. In the Florida courts, both individuals don't have to agree on divorce. One of the most common reasons individuals file for divorce in Florida is irreconcilable differences, which constitutes when the couple can no longer sustain the marriage.

What happens when one spouse doesn't want a divorce in Florida? ›

In the state of Florida, if your spouse does not wish to sign a petition for an uncontested divorce, you will need to file for a contested divorce. You will then need to have your spouse served with papers.

Can you get a free divorce in Florida? ›

You shouldn't pay anyone (not even a low cost divorce firm) for basic Florida divorce information. The Florida Supreme Court will provide all legal forms to you for free. Most family law forms can be found online if you have the time, energy and inner fortitude to search for divorce forms online.

Who has to leave the house in a divorce in Florida? ›

Florida law does not have a universal answer for this, meaning that there is no law that says the Wife, or the Husband has to leave, while the other has to stay. In order for one spouse to force the other out, one of several things can occur.

What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Florida? ›

In Florida, property is divided 50-50 if it is considered “marital property” – or property that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Non-marital property, which is property either spouse acquired before the marriage, is not divided equally.

Does the wife get the house in a divorce in Florida? ›

Who Gets the House in a Florida Divorce? A court won't order a couple to split a marital home, but a judge may award one spouse the home in exchange for buying out the other spouse's share of the home. In other cases, a judge may order the couple to sell the home and divide the proceeds.

How long is separation before divorce in FL? ›

A couple must live separately and apart to file for divorce. However, Florida does not require a waiting period or separation before filing for divorce. The only requirement to get a divorce is that at least one of the parties must reside in the state for at least half a year before filing for divorce.

What is the first step to getting a divorce in Florida? ›

You begin by filing either a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage or a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Circuit Court. In the simplified procedure, or an uncontested divorce procedure if you have children), you, and maybe your spouse, will be need to attend a court hearing.

Is it adultery to date while separated Florida? ›

Is Dating During a Divorce Illegal or Legal in Florida? There is no statute that would prohibit married individuals from dating someone other than their spouse during a divorce.

What does a judge consider in a divorce? ›

The court will look at meeting the needs of both parties, including ensuring their housing and income needs are met. If these needs are met from the available assets and there is a surplus, the court may consider the origin of certain assets in deciding how the remainder is divided.

How do I file for divorce in Tampa? ›

How to File for Divorce in Hillsborough County?
  1. Complete the paperwork specific to your family situation.
  2. Sign, notarize, and make copies of the documents.
  3. Get to the court and file your forms with the clerk.
  4. Gather the copies of the papers you filed and the forms you are required to serve.

Do you have to go to court for divorce in Florida? ›

The short answer, for every scenario except standard uncontested dissolution, is no. You will have to be present in court for your divorce. In all Florida divorce cases, at least one of the spouses needs to appear in court, and in the majority of cases, both spouses need to be present.

What qualifies a spouse for alimony? ›

you relied on your spouse for financial support; you don't have sufficient property, including marital property, to provide for your needs; and. you are unable to support yourself through work or you cannot work due to caring for a child whose condition makes it “inappropriate” for you to work.

Is alimony always awarded in Florida? ›

You may be wondering: Is alimony awarded in every divorce case in Florida? The answer is 'no'—Florida courts will only grant spousal support when certain factors are met. In this article, our Clearwater alimony attorney highlights the key things you should know about our state's alimony laws.

Can you avoid alimony in Florida? ›

Under Florida law, a spouse requesting maintenance must show the court evidence of their financial situation to establish an actual need for alimony. If your spouse cannot prove that they need financial support, you may be able to avoid an alimony award.

Who pays for a divorce? ›

Put simply, the general rule is that each person getting divorced will pay their own legal fees, and the person applying for the divorce will be responsible for covering Court Fees and other costs. However, in some circumstances it may be possible for them to recover these costs from the other person.

How is debt divided in a divorce in Florida? ›

Florida follows the equitable distribution doctrine when dividing marital assets and liabilities in a divorce. It means that a divorcing couple's property and debt should be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Usually, the higher-earning spouse is assigned more debt than the lower-earning spouse.

Does it matter who files for divorce first in Florida? ›

Florida is a No-Fault Divorce State

This means when you are on the receiving end of divorce papers, it does not assign a legal advantage or disadvantage to either side, whether you filed first or not.

What are the five stages of divorce? ›

What are the Five Stages of Divorce?
  • There are two processes in divorce.
  • Denial is the first stage of divorce.
  • Anger is the second stage of divorce.
  • Bargaining is the third stage of divorce.
  • Depression is the fourth stage of divorce.
  • Acceptance is the fifth stage of divorce.

What is the quickest divorce in Florida? ›

Florida divorce law provides a process called a 'Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. ' Couples can use this to get a quick divorce, about 30 days from filing to finalization, as long as they have complete agreement on the terms of the divorce and it's uncontested.

Can I file for a divorce myself in Florida? ›

As long as you and your soon-to-be-ex settled the disputes concerning asset division, alimony, childcare, and child support, you qualify for an uncontested divorce and can represent yourself in court.

How do I protect myself financially in a divorce? ›

Protecting Your Money in a Divorce
  1. Hire an experienced divorce attorney. Ideally, this person will emphasize mediation or collaborative divorce over litigation. ...
  2. Open accounts in your name only. ...
  3. Sort out mortgage and rent payments. ...
  4. Be prepared to share retirement accounts.

Can you get a free divorce? ›

With your court fees covered, DIY is the only method of obtaining a free divorce, but it's only viable if you and your spouse agree to the divorce and why you're getting one.

Do I have to pay for my wife's divorce lawyer Florida? ›

As a rule of thumb, the more contentious the divorce case, the more your attorney will charge you. Fortunately, however, Florida law allows spouses to make their spouse pay their divorce attorney's fees.

When should I file divorce? ›

Under the Special Marriage Act it was laid down that a couple may present a petition for divorce by mutual consent on the ground that they have been living separately for a period of one year or more, that they have not been able to live together and that they have mutually agreed to divorce.

What happens when you file for divorce in Florida? ›

Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that you don't have to give any reason to the court for why you want to end your marriage, other than that you want it to be over. The court divides all marital property in a way that it deems fair.

Does adultery affect a divorce settlement in Florida? ›

The role of adultery has diminished over time in Florida divorce cases. Florida is a no-fault state and therefore adultery does not affect most decisions. If the adulterer spends marital funds or uses marital assets in the course of their behavior – that will affect the decision of the court.

Does adultery affect divorce in Florida? ›

In reality, however, adultery plays less of a role in a Florida divorce than most people may believe. Under Florida law, divorces are treated as “no-fault.” This means no specific reason or blame must be proven in order for the court to grant your divorce—you must simply cite that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

How much is a divorce if both parties agree in Florida? ›

The cost of uncontested divorce in Florida is: Under $500 if you complete the paperwork yourself and file without a lawyer. Under $650 if you get online help with the paperwork and filing instructions to file without an attorney. Around $3,000-$5,000 if a lawyer takes care of everything.

Does Florida require counseling before divorce? ›

Florida is not one of those states. Under Florida law, completion of marriage and/or family counseling is not a statutory requirement for divorce—meaning many couples can and do get separated without ever going through any type of professional counseling. That is not to say that counseling is a bad idea.

Can a judge deny a divorce in Florida? ›

Judges Can Deny a Divorce

Due to the fact that Florida is governed by no-fault divorce laws, a judge cannot consider fault when deciding whether to grant a divorce. However, they may in very rare instances deny a divorce.

Can you force your spouse to leave the marital home Florida? ›

We understand that you no longer want to be living with your spouse; however, in general in the State of Florida, you cannot force your spouse to move out of the house. As long as both parties have been married and living in the home together, that is the residence of both parties.

How much is a divorce in Tampa? ›

The total divorce filing fee is $418.00. This does not include the cost of getting the other party served. This fee is standard and is the same whether filing for divorce in Tampa, Plant City, Brandon, Valrico, Riverview or the rest of Hillsborough County.

Is legal separation required before divorce in Florida? ›

No, Florida is one of a handful of states that doesn't offer legal separation as a formal legal process. Within the state, spouses can live separate and apart from each other without the need for a court order, which can be beneficial if you wish to avoid divorce for religious, social, or financial reasons.

What is a spouse entitled to in a divorce in Florida? ›

In Florida, property is divided 50-50 if it is considered “marital property” – or property that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Non-marital property, which is property either spouse acquired before the marriage, is not divided equally.

Who pays the costs in a divorce? ›

The applicant always pays the divorce fees

Initially, the person filing for the divorce (known as the applicant ) will always pay the divorce filing fee. The court fees are paid to the court to prove the administration for the divorce process.

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