What are the LEGAL STEPS in a Contested Divorce in Orlando, Kissimmee, Lake, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia Counties?
A guide by Orlando Divorce Lawyer Heiko Moenckmeier
Orlando based family lawyer Heiko Moenckmeier practices in Deland, Deltona, Daytona, Cocoa, Melbourne, Seminole County, Sanford, Lake Mary, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, and Lake County Tavares. He has been doing Family Law since 2009 and has the experience to understand his clients needs while helping frame that around the Law. Mr. Moenckmeier has been told he is an affordable family lawyer and offers payment plans to his clients. He has done too many contested divorces to count and will guide you through the process and journey that is a contested divorce.
Are you initiating the divorce?
(that means you’re starting the divorce process by filing first)
- If you have already been served, most of this applies to you, but you may need a COUNTER-PETITION (costs $311.00 to the clerk of court) in order to say, No, that’s not true and I want X, Y, and Z.
- Gather your filing fee ($411.00 to the Clerk of Court), your summons fee (another $10.00) and your money for the process server (another $50.00).
- You’ll then fill out a number of forms including:
- the Dissolution Petition,
- UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act),
- Financial Affidavits, etc.
You probably want a lawyer to assist you in this… (I would say you do, because none of the steps are easy, mistakes will cost you thousands and tens of thousands of dollars (or more!) and it took me several years to really learn the ins and outs of divorce and family law, but I digress).
- PETITION: The petition must be filed (and monies payed) at the Clerk of Court; and the process server now must Serve the Respondent (other party).
Standing Administrative Orders: These Orders govern people’s activities and freeze their behaviors- the idea is that this will prevent the other spouse from selling off assets, not paying crucial bills, and general civility.
- SERVICE: The Respondent needs to be served by the process server (it gives them actual notice). If your spouse dodges service or you don’t know where the spouse is, Service of Process by Publication must be used. (Yes, this costs more than regular personal service by a process server, and yes, our Firm knows how to handle this).
- FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: Exchange of financial affidavits (typically long form is requested, even for those making less than $50,000.00 per year)
- MEDIATION: the parties and their lawyers meet with a neutral person called a mediator and attempt to reach a resolution on their outstanding issues. This includes settling on a parenting plan, child support, alimony, property division and any other issue. Many cases settle at mediation. A side note (or primary note)- settling at mediation is MUCH cheaper than going to trial.
- TRIAL: If the parties didn’t settle at mediation, then they go before the Judge to present evidence and argument as to why they should be entitled to the things they are asking for. At that time, the Judge decides what the parties are entitled to based off of their view of the evidence.
- Depositions: The lawyer may choose to seek to depose the other side about certain questions. A court reporter will need to be hired, and the deposition scheduled.
- Motions to Compel- when the other side is not providing some document or is not cooperating, this is to ask the Judge to force the other side to cooperate, and we also ask for sanctions and attorneys fees at this time.
- Motions for Contempt- these are filed after the other side has been ordered to comply and does not. At this time, we ask for compliance, sanctions and attorneys fees.
Orlando based family lawyer Heiko Moenckmeier practices in Deland, Deltona, Daytona, Cocoa, Melbourne, Seminole County, Sanford, Lake Mary, Winter Park, Orlando, Kissimmee, and Lake County Tavares. He has been doing Family Law since 2009 and has the experience to understand his clients needs while helping frame that around the Law. He offers affordable rates and payment plans to his clients and knows that money doesn’t grow on trees in this economy.