Making the decision to get a divorce is often one of the most difficult and emotional choices that a couple must make. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are ready for a divorce, it’s important to understand the steps you should take next.
Step One: File a Divorce Petition
The divorce process only begins when one spouse files a legal petition asking the court to terminate the marriage. Any divorce petition must include specific information to help the court make its decision:
- Proof that at least one spouse is a resident of the state
- A legal reason for the divorce
- Other relevant statutory information required by the state
Step Two: Request Temporary Orders, If Needed
Depending on the nature of your divorce, you may find it helpful to ask the court for a temporary child custody, child support, or spousal support order. The divorce process can take months, and some spouses need temporary arrangements to help them through the waiting period.
Step Three: Serve the Divorce Papers
Your spouse may already be aware of your impending divorce, but the law still requires you to serve the divorce papers to your soon-to-be ex and file proof of service with the court. Proof of service is an important formality because it shows the court that you properly notified your spouse of the divorce proceedings. Without proof of service, your divorce case cannot proceed.
Step Four: Work Out a Settlement
Divorce is rarely a simple, easy process. Spouses often have different wishes and preferences, which leads to disagreements over child support payments, custody, asset allocation, and other critical issues. Depending on the nature of your own divorce, you may have a contested or uncontested divorce:
- Uncontested divorce: A “simple divorce” in which both spouses agree in writing to the terms of their divorce, including alimony, child support, child custody, and division of assets and debts
- Contested divorce: A judge is responsible for addressing the divorce settlement terms because the divorcing spouses cannot work together
Whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce, the support of an attorney is essential. The divorce attorneys at Caveda Law Firm are here to help you navigate your Tampa divorce. Call today at (813) 463-0800 for a free consultation with one of our experienced Tampa divorce lawyers!