Annulments, Contested and Uncontested Divorce, Collaborative Divorce
Marriage is a recognized legal relationship between two persons. Divorce is the process of terminating that relationship. Unlike other states, Florida does not recognize common law marriages. You are either married or not. The legal system provides you with a means to terminate that legal relationship, protect your parental rights and property interests, as well as confirm the duties and obligations of each party. If divorce is a consideration for you, we are here to help.
You can choose to have a new and innovative method to obtain your divorce with a team of inter-disciplinary professionals. The method is designed to assist you and your spouse reach settlement of your divorce case before it is filed in a court of law. Your team members consist of an attorney for you and your spouse, a mental health provider, financial professional and your spouse. The team agrees to meet on several occasions over a course of time to discuss and resolve certain components of your divorce. Each team meeting results is memorialized in writing and preserved until the next meeting; ultimately a complete resolution is met. The attorneys of the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise are collaboratively trained to provide you with an innovative method to reach the goals of divorce without the sting of litigation. It is imperative that both you and your spouse choose collaboratively trained professionals and be committed to the designed process to achieve optimal success.
The Collaborative process may also be effective for other aspects of law including paternity and modification of legal matters.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
You have decided that it is in your best interests to dissolve your marriage. You have several options to achieve this particular goal. You may choose to obtain a traditional divorce where you petition the court to dissolve your marriage. The attorneys of the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise are prepared to assist you each and every step of the way in this process.
The traditional contested dissolution of marriage process is adversarial where required documents are filed with the clerk of courts. A judge is then randomly assigned to your case and your spouse is generally personally served with those documents. Once your spouse receives the legal documents, he or she will have twenty (20) days to file a response to your documentation with the clerk of courts. The litigation requires the judge determine all relevant issues in your case. These include parental responsibility or parental rights, equitable distribution or division of marital assets and liabilities, alimony or spousal support, child support obligations of each party, other child-related financial concerns, and other ancillary issues (attorney’s fees and costs). The litigation process requires each party to exchange financial information and attend mediation. Mediation is a legal proceeding where the parties must first attempt to resolve any and all pending issues prior to appearing before a judge for final resolution. If your issues are not resolved during mediation, the matter is set for an evidentiary trial.
Additionally, you may choose an uncontested dissolution of marriage action. Uncontested dissolution action refers to a process where the parties are fully cooperative and reach complete agreement. The attorneys of the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise assist you with presenting your spouse with reasonable written agreement and or parenting plan to resolving all relevant issues of your divorce. Once the agreement is accepted and fully executed we file the agreement and other required documentation with the clerk of courts as a resolved action and set your final hearing.
Alimony or Spousal Support
You may need financial support from your spouse after the divorce is final. Spouses have a responsibility to support each other. Based on that concept, the Court can order one party to pay spousal support to the other party. Typically, this is done to ensure the financial stability of the parties and the financial need of one spouse and the ability to pay of the other spouse. There are many types of alimony usually based on duration, amount, and purpose. There are several factors the Court considers to determine if an award for alimony or spousal support is appropriate. Alimony is a dynamic area of law so it is best to consult the attorneys at the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise for assistance understanding under what circumstances alimony is payable, as well as the type and duration of the alimony.
One of the substantial aspects of your divorce proceeding is the division of your possessions and debt (marital assets and liabilities). Equitable Distribution can be complicated based on identifying the assets, and liabilities, and whether they are marital or non-marital, agreeing on the value of the assets, and evaluating whether there is any justification for deviating from an equal distribution. The Family Court judge will identify those real estate, financial and retirement accounts, other valuables, and personal properties that you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage and decide an equitable division of those properties. There are special circumstances where you may acquire properties such as through personal earnings, inheritance, or winnings. Let the attorneys at the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise assist you in navigating this challenging process.
To learn more about your legal options or to get started on your case, contact us today to schedule your consultation with a lawyer at our firm.