Welcome to the Florida Divorce and Family Law Self-Help Video Series…provided by DivorceHappens.com, a division of Miller Law.
This video is not a substitute for having competent counsel.
A Family Law case in Florida can be broken down into 5 basic steps.
- Step 1 is pre-suit. Pre-Suit…is what happens before your case is filed.
- This includes the initial meeting with your lawyer,
- having the law firm draft your papers; making sure all necessary allegations are made and the right tone is struck,
- then having you review and execute the documents.
- Step 2 is Initiating the Action…This begins with your case being filed with the clerk, having the clerk issue the summons, then having the summons and petition served on your spouse. Once served, your spouse will have 20 days to file a formal, written response with the clerk.
- Step 3 is discovery. The purpose of conducting discovery is to seek to obtain admissible evidence. In family cases, there are two parts to the discovery phase. Part 1 is exchanging mandatory financial disclosures, these include a financial affidavit, tax returns, bank and credit card statements, and so on. Part 2 involves determining what additional evidence you may need and what the best way of obtaining that evidence will be.
- Step 4 is Mediation. Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution. In mediation, the parties and lawyers sit down with a mediator and attempt to resolve the issues in the case. If you do not resolve your case at mediation, you will need to go to a contested final hearing (also known as “trial”).
- The final step is Trial, this is “The Main Event.” This is what you see in movies and on TV. This is what most people think happens in every case…but the reality is that less than 2% of cases make it to trial. Trial preparation is intense and trial is stressful. During trial each side will have the opportunity to present evidence, then argue the facts and the law to the Court. The Judge, after carefully considering all evidence and arguments, will rule.
Lawyers often see self-represented parties have good claims that flop because they do not know how to properly present their case to the court. You get one chance to do it right. Get our team at Miller Law involved early to effectively represent you and your interests.
When both parties are able to work together, many of these steps can be cut-short or eliminated…that will save time and keep costs down.
Fighting takes time, causes stress, and costs money…so make sure to choose your battles…and your lawyer…wisely.
Contact Miller Law today to see how we can help you.
Call us at 833 – It – Happens