What are the most valuable things in your life? Initially, you probably think of your home, your cars, or maybe some precious jewelry. But when you take a moment to consider the question, you realize that the answer doesn’t include financial assets. No, the most valuable things in your life are your family, friends, and pets. When you are facing divorce, these things are as much at risk as your physical possessions, and losing them is much more traumatic than losing your new car. Protecting these valuable relationships is the reason why you need a lawyer to handle your divorce.
Dissolution of marriage in Florida is a complicated endeavor. Florida’s divorce laws have over 100 sections that cover everything from the distribution of assets and attorney’s fees to visitation rights for deployed parents. Family law lawyers spend years learning these regulations and what they mean for clients. The average person does not have this background. As a result, they are likely to be overwhelmed by the complexity of these laws.
Arguably, the worst thing about these laws is that they only increase the trauma you suffer during a divorce. Every divorce is traumatic, even those that are relatively friendly. You are separating from the person you expected to spend your life with, and people you don’t know are digging into your love life, finances, and more. But just because you are separating from your spouse doesn’t mean you want to separate from the rest of your loved ones. Unfortunately, if the divorce goes poorly, you may be forced to do that as well, adding to the trauma of an already horrible situation.
The top priority of an experienced family law attorney is to protect the most valuable things in your life. Lawyers like Attorney Michael Panella understand that your children, other family members, and pets are what really matter to you. Experienced lawyers also know how to navigate the legal process to fight for those important things. This matters the most when dealing with child custody laws.
Florida law doesn’t show a preference to either parent. Instead, it prioritizes the best interests of the child. Your attorney understands this and will show the court how it is in your child’s best interests to spend as much time with you as possible. While your lawyer empathizes with your pain, they don’t have the same emotional attachment to your divorce that you have. This makes it easier for them to approach your case with the detachment necessary to succeed during pre-trial negotiations — and in court, if necessary.
While protecting your relationships with your loved ones is the most important way your divorce lawyer can help you, it isn’t the only way. You also need to protect your finances after the divorce. Just as you expected to spend the rest of your life with your spouse, you expected that your financial plan with your spouse would support you and your children until your final days. Unfortunately, that plan went out the window with your separation. Now, you need to rely on lawyers and the court to protect your financial future.
Your family law attorney will help you determine what assets are most critical for you going forward. In any divorce, your spouse will get some of the assets owned by the marriage. That is inevitable. What is most important is that, at the end of the divorce, you have enough assets to be financially stable, especially if you are still supporting children. Lawyers will help you collect financial records, both for you and your spouse, and use those to map out a fair settlement that protects your interests. Fights over assets can be almost as emotional as fights over child custody. For example, you’ve created years of memories related to your family home. Giving that up can be very difficult. When possible, lawyers will fight to help you keep assets like that. But they will also be honest with you about when it will be better to sacrifice an asset to protect your financial future.
Typically, divorce proceedings are messy because of the emotional baggage attached to every failed marriage. Experienced attorneys will help limit the trauma and make the process go as smoothly as possible. Divorce proceedings officially start when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Florida courts. At the same time, you need to serve your spouse with divorce papers. If you are worried about how your spouse will react, your lawyer will serve your spouse with divorce papers.
At this point, divorces usually go one of two ways. Either the two parties negotiate a divorce agreement that they jointly present to the court or the entire matter is fought in court. Your divorce attorney will attempt to negotiate at first. A negotiated agreement will cost you less money in fees and will complete the divorce process more quickly. Typically, both parties and their lawyers are present during negotiations. Due to the emotional trauma involved in a divorce, the attorneys will usually do most of the speaking. This can help to avoid unnecessary fights. If you and your spouse come to an agreement, that proposal will be presented to the court, which will respect it in most cases.
When you can’t agree, the divorce becomes a lot messier. There will often be multiple hearings as the court determines how to separate assets and determine child custody if necessary. This can take months or years, depending on how complicated the divorce is.
Every divorce is messy. That is an unfortunate fact of life. However, experienced lawyers can limit the trauma and help protect the things that are most valuable to you. If you need a divorce, contact the Panella Law Firm today at 407-233-1822 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.