Florida Contested Divorce Lawyer During Coronavirus

Family law Tampa

family law Tampa

The nearly nationwide quarantine following the Covid-19 outbreak resulted in some major changes to daily life for most Americans. In some families, this turn of events has altered relationships with loved ones. For example, if you were stuck inside with your spouse for nearly two months (or longer), you likely experienced more tension and arguments than usual. This particular challenge was widely reported and commonplace.

For some couples, especially those who were already facing relationship difficulties, the Coronavirus quarantine has proven to be the “last straw” in marriages that were already experiencing difficulty. The U.S. may see a spike in divorce rates now that most states have lifted stay-at-home orders.

If you are among those Americans facing divorce in the time of Coronavirus, it’s important to understand your options going forward. If you and your spouse are likely to disagree on some of the terms of your divorce settlement and/or child custody arrangement, it’s important to connect with a Florida contested divorce lawyer during Coronavirus. Don’t wait to explore your legal options until after the pandemic resolves, as it is likely that the virus will continue to spread for some time to come. Also, the longer you wait to speak with a Florida contested divorce lawyer during Coronavirus, the more complex your case is likely to become. If you and your spouse are experiencing difficulties now, that tension is likely to grow until you’ve reached an equitable settlement. The experienced team at >The McKinney Law Group can help you start weighing your options so that you and your spouse can move forward with your lives sooner rather than later.

What is a contested divorce?

The process of contested divorce goes by a number of names, including “litigated” and “traditional” divorce. It’s what most of us think of when we picture divorce. It simply means that significant decisions will need to be made regarding property division, child custody and financial support and that you and your spouse disagree on at least some of the settlement terms.

Here are some of the most basic elements, although when you consult with a Florida contested divorce lawyer during Coronavirus, our firm can help you understand how these generalized rules will apply to your situation specifically:

  • One spouse files for divorce (the petitioner) and the other becomes the respondent
  • The petitioner must have been living in Florida for at least six months immediately prior to filing for divorce
  • The couple must wait 20 days between filing and finalizing the divorce, which will not be an issue because contested divorce can take months to complete
  • The petitioner must file no-fault divorce, asserting that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage (filing fault-based divorce is also an option, but requires much more work and usually confers almost no additional benefits)


How are Disputes or Contested Issues Resolved?

Most couples who file traditional divorce do so because they simply cannot see eye to eye about the terms of their divorce or child custody matters. When there is no room for compromise, despite efforts at attorney-led negotiation and/or mediation, the decisions must necessarily be outsourced to a third party: the judge overseeing the case.

In contested divorce, both spouses prepare their arguments with the help of their respective attorneys, and the case eventually goes to trial before a judge.  The judge will make the final ruling on any contested matters.

Although litigated divorce was once the only way to get divorce, alternatives have been developed that tend to be less contentious, less expensive and less time-consuming. However, there are instances in which cooperation and negotiation simply aren’t possible, usually due to one spouse’s refusal to participate in good faith. In these cases, litigated divorce is the most appropriate option.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is stressful enough in itself because it takes longer and can be more hostile. When you’re going through a contested divorce during the coronavirus, it can make it that much more mentally draining. Don’t allow the stress to cause you to make these costly mistakes:

-Not Double Checking the Paperwork: A divorce involves mountains of paperwork and it’s easy to overlook something. When you’re dealing with your kids at home all day because of the pandemic, you might forget to fill every little thing out. However, making errors on your paperwork will just slow down the divorce process. Take the extra time to make sure all the information is filled out and accurate.

-Yelling and Fighting With Your Spouse: A contested divorce can definitely be more heated because you and your spouse don’t agree on important matters, like property division or child custody. Some days, you may be so angry at your spouse that you want to call him or her just to yell. However, you should avoid doing this. The judge will frown upon this and it will just make you feel more stressed. If you’re feeling angry, wait until you calm down to call your spouse.

-Agreeing to an Unfair Settlement: When you’re dealing with the stress of your divorce and the pandemic, you may be tempted to sign the first agreement you’re presented with. While it’s understandable that you want to get things over as soon as possible, accepting the first settlement can backfire later on. Allow your Florida contested divorce lawyer during coronavirus time to work out a better agreement.

-Bad Mouthing Your Spouse in Front of Your Kids: No matter how angry you are with your spouse, you should never talk poorly about him or her in front of your kids. They’re already upset about their parents splitting up and not being able to see their friends as often due to the pandemic. If they hear you badmouthing your spouse, they may feel even worse.

-Not Telling Your Lawyer the Truth: Your lawyer can’t help you to the best of his or her ability if you don’t tell the complete truth. He or she has heard it all before and won’t judge you. Be honest about every matter concerning your divorce, such as the assets you own.

Contact Us to Discuss your Legal Needs Today

Our firm offers comprehensive family law representation, including highly experienced representation in contested divorce. To discuss your legal options with a Florida contested divorce lawyer during Coronavirus, contact us to arrange an initial consultation. We look forward to assisting you during this uniquely challenging time.