Divorce Lawyer St. Petersburg, FL
Divorce Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL
A divorce is something no married couple wants to go through, but sometimes the difficult decision has to be made for the benefit of both parties, as a divorce lawyer that St. Petersburg, Florida trusts and respects very well. At that time, having a divorce lawyer there to offer critical legal representation and support can make a significant impact. Going through such a complex legal issue on your own can add stress, emotional strain, and can run you the risk of making crucial issues that can impede the divorce case. You don’t want to have to deal with additional obstacles that could have been avoided if you had a lawyer. If you are in need of legal help, contact a lawyer like one from The McKinney Law Group for divorce-related legal assistance.
Divorce Lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL
As a law firm that specializes in various aspects of family law, The McKinney Law Group knows that family law cases are one of the toughest types of cases to assist clients with. Having been in practice for over 10 years, the legal team at McKinney has extensive experience in developing individualized strategies that will serve each client and help them advance towards their desired outcome. If you are seeking an attorney that you can rely on for divorce support and general legal needs, you should consider working with an attorney from The McKinney Law Group.
Understanding the Divorce Process
When couples go through divorce, the entire process can take many months, from the initial claim to finalization. Divorce has many layers, and it comes with legal hurdles that many clients may need guidance with, as a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL can explain. Submitting the required documents, reviewing information, completing each of the requirements can be a lengthy and complex process. A lawyer can illuminate the decision-making process and explain the context so that you are fully informed of the situation.
Costs and Expenses of Divorce
The costs of divorce can be hard for both parties to handle. Divorce typically costs thousands of dollars, and according to the legal website Nolo, the average cost of a divorce in the United States is roughly $12,900. This financial toll adds another layer of complexity to a divorce case. A lawyer can explain in detail how divorce costs are calculated. Factors such as your state of residence, whether or not you and your ex have disputes, and whether your case needs to go to trial can add additional expenses. Some primary costs and expenses that clients can expect to pay during a divorce can be broken down into the following items:
- Attorney fees
- Court fees
- Divorce filing fees
- Miscellaneous fees
If you have children, child custody and child support will also be issues handled by the court around the same time as the divorce proceeding. Other optional expenses include mediation or arbitration, family therapy, and other miscellaneous fees.
How To Prepare for a Divorce
Organize Your Finances
One of the most important things you can do to get ready for the divorce process is to get all of your financial paperwork organized and accessible. Your divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL, will need to get a clear picture of your financial status in order to help you with your case. You should compile income tax records, mortgage information, outstanding debts, retirement and investment fund information, and any other form of income you or your spouse may have. This will make it easy for lawyers at Mckinney Law Group to understand your financial needs following the divorce.
Figure Out What You Want
One of the first steps you should take once you decide to move forward with a divorce is getting clear on what you want. This can be as simple as writing out all of your priorities or values, and making goals based on that. Consider your financial situation, your children, your shared property, and what future goals you have. Having a clear picture of what you want ahead of time can help when tough decisions arise in your divorce. You can refer back to your list of priorities if mediation or negotiations get heated, and you could even find clarity in the decisions you have already made.
Find Your Support System
A divorce can be a difficult time in anyone’s life. You will want to have someone on your team besides your divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL, to help process the emotions that arise. A trusted friend or family member can become a safe place for you to vent. A therapist can also be a great resource to help you heal and work through the ups and downs of a divorce. Be sure you have a support system to discuss your thoughts with that does not include the internet, as public posts about your divorce could affect your case.
Talk To Your Kids
A difficult but important step in preparing for a divorce is explaining the situation to your kids. A divorce is a big life change for everyone involved. Children especially need to know they are secure in their family relationships during a tumultuous time. You can have age-appropriate conversations with each child to prepare them for the divorce process and reassure them that they are loved. This is also a good time to allow them to ask any questions they may have. By talking to your kids early on, you can help keep the dialogue open throughout the entire divorce. Family lawyers like those at Mckinney Law Group have experience in helping navigate this subject, so be sure to get extra help if needed.
3 Things Parents Must Remember During a Divorce
A divorce can be one of the most painful and stressful challenges you will face. Going through a divorce with children only multiplies these challenges. Although divorce is always difficult, there are things parents can do to lessen the negative effects on their children. The law team at Mckinney Law Group can help you navigate this difficult time. Keep reading to learn 3 things parents must remember during a divorce.
Your Kids Are Going Through This Too
It can be very easy to get swept up in the emotions and stress of your divorce and forget that your children are going through this experience right along with you. Kids process stress very differently from adults, and this sometimes leads adults to believe that children are not experiencing the stress at all. Adults often say, “Children are resilient. They will be okay.” The truth is, children are only okay when the adults in their lives acknowledge their feelings and struggles as well. If you need guidance concerning the best interest of your children during your divorce, you can talk with a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg FL.
Your Kids Still Have A Life
Although it may feel like your entire life has been put on hold during your divorce, you need to remember that your kids still have a life of their own. Sports, extracurriculars, school, and social activities will still continue. It is unfair to your children to expect them to drop out of life because of a divorce. Although this can feel very difficult, it is important for your kids to know that you are still there for them and that their activities matter too. Respect your kids’ schedules and activities to avoid breeding resentment during this time. A divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg FL can help you better understand how to balance the many moving parts of your divorce.
Your Kids Love Their Other Parent
This is one of the most difficult things for some parents to process. You are divorcing your partner, but your children are not divorcing their parent. Regardless of your feelings toward your ex, you must remember that it is not appropriate or healthy to ask your child to share those feelings. It is also not healthy or appropriate to vent to your child about your ex or the divorce. Your child loves their other parent and you must respect that and do nothing to interrupt their relationship.
The team at Mckinney Law Group can help you find a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg FL to help you and your family during these challenges.
Common Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in Divorce
Social media allows people to stay connected to their family and friends. However, if you’re currently in the middle of a divorce, you need to be a little more careful about what you post on social media. Here are some common social media mistakes a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL wants you to avoid making.
- Talking poorly about your ex: If you and your spouse are getting divorced, it’s natural for you to have some ill feelings toward him or her. Perhaps your ex was unfaithful in the marriage. Or maybe he or she was verbally abusive. However, you should avoid badmouthing your ex on Facebook and other social media profiles. It will only make you look bad in front of the judge and may negatively affect your child custody case.
- Stalking your ex: When you’re going through a divorce, you may find yourself constantly checking your ex’s social media pages for updates. You’re curious what he or she is up to and can’t help but to check up on him or her. However, this will just make it more difficult to move on from yourself. For your own emotional health, avoid stalking your ex on social media.
- Oversharing the details of your divorce: A divorce is emotionally painful, so it’s understandable that you want to talk about your feelings. However, a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL would advise you against doing this on social media. It could end up hurting your relationships and career prospects. If you want to talk about your divorce, do so with a trusted friend or family member in private.
- Posting photos of big purchases: Another mistake people going through divorce make on social media is posting their big purchases. This can ultimately hurt your financial gain in your divorce. For example, if you’re claiming that you will struggle financially and need alimony, but post photos of a new sports car you bought, it could make you look bad in court.
- Posting inappropriate photos: People love posting photos of themselves on social media sites. However, if you’re going through a divorce, you have to be extra careful about the types of photos you post. For instance, if you post a photo of yourself drinking at a bar, it could make you look like an irresponsible parent and hurt your child custody case.
Keeping Divorce Costs Manageable
One of the primary reasons why the divorce process seems like such a stressful prospect is that, traditionally, divorce is expensive. There will always be costs involved in dividing a single household into two. However, the divorce process doesn’t need to be unnecessarily expensive. There are many different ways to keep divorce-related costs as manageable as possible under the circumstances. With that said, there are times at which you may benefit from navigating an upfront cost in pursuit of a long-term goal.
Needs, Wants, and Priorities
The complexity of any couple’s divorce process depends primarily upon the approaches taken by the spouses involved. If both spouses want to split amicably and with minimal legal “fuss,” there will be far fewer costs involved in this process than there would be if fundamental differences needed to be resolved via judicial intervention. Sometimes, digging one’s heels in is worth the associated legal costs if the goal involved is important. Other times, negotiation, compromise, and coming to a mutual agreement can advance a mutual goal to settle things in a manner that is as low-stress and low-cost as possible.
In the end, the approach that you should take to your own divorce will be dictated by your needs, wants, and priorities. Hopefully, these will align with your spouse’s, if you hope to keep divorce costs down. Upfront, the most cost-effective decision you can make is to negotiate with your spouse (via mediation, attorney-led negotiation, or one-on-one conversations) to come up with a divorce settlement that is fair and mutually agreeable. If your divorce remains amicable, you will save time and money that would otherwise be spent pursuing a contested divorce in court. However, if your needs, wants, and priorities are not going to be well-served by a process dictated by a need to compromise, it may be more expensive long-term to “give in” to your spouse’s demands than it would be to fight for what you need now.
When to Contest and When to Compromise
If you’re faced with the decision to compromise and lose out on something of great value to you or fight for what you want, you may need to dig your heels in and ask a judge to resolve your fundamental differences with your spouse. It may be necessary to fight for a certain custody arrangement for your child, a fair spousal support arrangement, or a different distribution of assets than your spouse will agree to. When considering what it means to “keep divorce costs manageable,” you must consider both the short-term and long-term consequences of any choices that you make. Agreeing to compromise now may save you on legal fees… but will doing so cost you dearly in the end? If you are unsure of how to weigh the costs and benefits of different approaches, don’t fret. Our legal team can help you to make whatever informed decision is right for you.
Divorce After Retirement
In the past, the bulk of the divorce rate was centered around couples in their thirties and forties. However, the rate for couples of retirement age (60 and over) has been on the rise for the last decade. Divorce after retirement is a difficult situation, and it is imperative to understand your rights and responsibilities when facing the end of a marriage, especially if adult children are involved. A St. Petersburg, FL divorce lawyer can help.
Why More Divorces Now?
As social roles change, more and more older couples are getting divorced. When seniors were in their twenties and thirties, divorce was sometimes still seen as taboo in some areas, especially among devoutly religious people. That has changed. Also, increasing numbers of women from that generation are joining the workforce and feeling less tied to old lives and old relationships.
However, the most common reason that older couples give for divorcing is a reality check – with retirement comes increased time spent together, and sometimes couples have simply drifted apart over the years. Baby boomers are living longer, and given the less repressive social climate, if a marriage is no longer about successful communication, divorce is an option for more people. This is especially true for those who have been married more than once; after one divorce, any lingering stigma seems to disappear. A St. Petersburg, FL divorce lawyer knows that the divorce rate for second marriages is 67 percent, and for third marriages, it’s 74 percent.
Asset Division – The Main Stumbling Block
By far the most complex part of divorcing after retirement is the division of assets. Many people make the mistake of blindly holding on to their marital home and taking very few other assets. In this real estate climate, that move would be a mistake; too many homes have uncertain equity for it to be safe.
The other assets most common to senior divorces are pensions and Social Security benefits. Pensions are traditionally the property of both spouses if they were earned during the marriage. It is important to be aware that a divorce is the only time a pension may be divided without a court order. Usually, a system is set up to pay benefits directly to the divorced spouse, via a document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
Social Security benefits, by comparison, belong to the person who earned them. However, you may be able to receive such benefits based on specific qualifications. You can also collect survivor benefits even after your divorce if the same condition applies or if you are taking care of a minor child. For these reasons and more, a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL, such as Attorney McKinney, can help you determine which is the best option financially for your situation.
4 Questions To Ask a Divorce Lawyer
If you are currently considering getting a divorce or have already taken some steps in the process, you probably have a lot of questions. When getting a divorce it is important to choose a good divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL. You want someone who will represent you well and who has your best interests at heart. Here are four questions you should ask a lawyer during your consultation with Mckinney Law Group.
1. Do I Really Need a Lawyer?
Divorce can be expensive, and you might be looking for ways to cut costs. If your case seems fairly straightforward, you might wonder if you even need to pay for a lawyer at all. Lawyers will advocate for you and are often able to get a more favorable outcome than you might get on your own. They will also handle the paperwork and filing that can be stressful to do alone. It’s always a good idea to talk to a lawyer about your specific case and decide together whether you will benefit from legal services.
2. How Much Do You Charge?
Before selecting a lawyer, you’ll want to know how much the fees are, and how and when those payments are expected to be made. A divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL, will likely charge a fixed rate, or by the hour. Some lawyers might offer financial help or be able to refer you to a more affordable lawyer.
3. What Are My Rights?
Make sure to ask about the rights and the laws that protect you, your children, your assets, and all other important aspects of your life. It’s good to know early in the process what is reasonable to expect and what things you might need to negotiate on or give up entirely. Knowing these things can help prevent you from being manipulated or coerced by your spouse, family members, or outside parties who don’t have your best interest at heart. Mckinney Law Group is dedicated to making sure you feel confident in your rights.
4. What Do I Need To Do?
Before leaving your consultation, make sure you understand what your role is in the divorce proceedings. While your divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL, will handle the bulk of the work, he or she should advise you on ways you can help your case and things to avoid so you don’t hurt your case. You can also ask what the next steps in the process look like and what kind of timeline you should expect.
If you want to get a divorce, you may want to speak with a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL from The McKinney Law Group. A divorce is a complicated matter, so it’s not something you want to go through on your own. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about divorce.
What Is the First Step in Getting a Divorce in Florida?
If you want to file a divorce in Florida, start by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The document will state claims you have for things like vision of property, child support and alimony. A process server will deliver the document to your spouse.
Can Mediation Be Helpful?
Yes, mediation can frequently resolve divorce cases. During mediation, a trained professional will help you and your spouse negotiate important matters in your divorce. The process is much less expensive and stressful than traditional divorce proceedings. Mediation is typically recommended for couples who are still on speaking terms and agree on major issues in their divorce.
When Can I Remarry or Start Dating?
You are required to wait until the court enters a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage before you can remarry someone else. As far as dating goes, there are no laws that prohibit you from doing so during your divorce. However, if you have children, dating someone new too soon can complicate matters.
Do I Really Have to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
While you’re not required by law to hire a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, Fl, it’s in your best interest to do so. There are many complex issues in a divorce, from property division to child support, that you may not fully understand. This can cause you to make costly mistakes. An experienced divorce lawyer will provide you with guidance and help you resolve your divorce in a timely fashion.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Florida?
The length of time it takes to get divorced depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on major issues in your divorce, including child custody, alimony and division of assets, so you can typically finish the process within a few months. On the other hand, if you and your spouse have a contested divorce, you can’t agree on many issues and the process may take much longer.
Schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL.
Schedule a Consultation With a Top Florida Attorney
To learn more about obtaining legal assistance, schedule a consultation with a St. Petersburg, FL divorce lawyer at The McKinney Law Group today.