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Winter Park Divorce Checklist

If you are thinking about getting your first divorce, you may feel overwhelmed at whats in store for you. However, the more you learn about Winter Park divorce information, the less anxiety you will experience.

If youre considering a divorce in Winter Park, your first task is to find out if Florida is the correct state in which to file for your divorce. State residency laws require either you or your spouse to have lived in Florida for at least six months. This also applies to military personnel stationed in Florida.

If you qualify for a Florida divorce, your next task is finding an attorney to represent you. Interview potential attorneys and bring along a list of questions you might have about the divorce process. Also, make sure you understand the attorneys working style and preferred method - and frequency - of communication.

Most attorneys are happy to meet with potential clients for a short introductory session. Some, however, charge for this appointment, so make sure you are clear about that ahead of time. Then select the attorney with whom you feel most comfortable.

Winter Park Divorce Information

Your Winter Park attorney will write your divorce documents in a way that a judge in Orange County will approve your petition for dissolution of marriage (or request for a divorce). Floridas divorce system is based on the principle of "no fault," meaning that a divorce will be granted if either spouse believes that the marriage is over, according to the the 9th Judicial Circuit, which includes Winter Park. Generally, the reasons why the marriage failed are not an issue in court. All that matters is that the marriage needs to be ended.

After submitting your petition to the courthouse in Orlando, your closest courthouse, you need to notify your spouse that you have filed for divorce. You will need proof of the service of process to show that the divorce documents were served properly to your spouse or his or her lawyer.

While your Winter Park attorney works on the various divorce documents, you can help the effort by gathering all of your financial papers. The court will need a complete accounting of your assets and liabilities. Your assets include all your financial holdings, such as bank accounts, retirement accounts and stocks and bonds, and other assets such as land, homes, furniture, jewelry, and musical instruments.

You will also need to provide your Winter Park divorce attorney with information about your liabilities, or debts. They can be found in documentation about your mortgage, car loans, credit cards, and lines of credit.

Winter Park Divorce Process

If you have what is called a contested divorce, the judge will send you and your spouse into divorce mediation. Mediation is at least one meeting between the spouses, their attorneys, and a neutral third-party mediator who tries to guide the conversation and channel it toward cooperative agreements. Your divorce is considered contested if:

  • You have children under 18 or one on the way
  • Either you or your spouse does not want the divorce
  • You and your spouse cannot agree to the various terms of the divorce

If just one of those conditions is met, your divorce is considered contested. All four of the major areas of contention are discussed in mediation. They are:

  • How to divide the property and debts
  • Will one spouse receive alimony, or spousal support
  • Custody of the children
  • Child support

All of these areas are perfect topics for mediation. Should you be unable to reach an agreement in one or more areas, then the mediator will report that to the court, and ultimately, a judge will decide them for you.

Dividing the Property and the Debts

When considering how best to divvy up the property and debts accrued during the marriage, youll need to know that Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means your judge in Orange County will divide the property and debts in the fairest way possible. This does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split. In coming up with a solution they deem fair, judges may consider many factors, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The work history and job prospects of both spouses
  • The physical and mental health of both spouses
  • Expenses for the children
  • Who earned the property


Alimony can be temporary - to allow time for an under-employed spouse to get more training or education - or permanent. Permanent alimony is paid until one of the spouses dies or the receiving spouse is remarried.

In negotiating possible alimony with your spouse, its helpful to know what a judge may consider at trial, which includes:

  • The earning potential of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • What work they contributed to the marriage, including being a homemaker and mother

Custody of the Children

Whether you are in Sunnyside or Hannibal Square any other part of Winter Park, you will learn information about how divorce affects your children in a mandatory parent education and family stabilization course. Its goal is to curb the divisiveness and nastiness that divorce can bring out in a parent and instead encourage harmony.

While the divorce proceedings are underway, you and your spouse may have to figure out if one of you will get temporary custody of the children before you figure out permanent custody issues. In general, judges prefer joint custody when possible.

When designing a more permanent arrangement, its helpful to know what factors a judge will consider should your case end up going to trial. Among these are:

  • The mental and physical health of both parents
  • Each parents ability to provide basic necessities, such as food, clothing and shelter
  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse, if any
  • The emotional ties between the parents and the child

Child Support

In figuring out how much child support the noncustodial parent should pay, Florida child-support law provides fairly strict guidelines to follow. In calculating child support, the formula considers both spouses income, how many children there are, who has custody, how often the other parent gets overnight visitations, and who pays for things such as insurance, medical benefits, and mortgage or rent payments where the children live.