Miami Divorce Lawyer
Call (305) 783-3301 for High Quality Miami Divorce Counsel
If your life and future have been turned upside down by the prospect of a divorce, you need legal counsel that you can trust. At Mitchell & West LLC, we have the dedication and skill to protect you and your loved ones' interests in custody disputes, a complicated divorce, and post-divorce matters.
Why Hire Our Miami Divorce Attorneys?
- Included in Super Lawyers® (top 5% of FL attorneys)
- Legal Services in English & Spanish
- Passionate, trial-ready family law representation
- Collaborative approach of our whole team
We devote our entire practice to the pursuit of justice for our clients. We are ready to assert your legal rights, guard your child’s best interests, and help you craft the next chapter of your life. We recognize that your case is unique, and we will provide the individual attention you deserve.
Guidance for Every Type & Aspect of Divorce
While we are trial-tested advocates, we are committed to helping our clients achieve fair results through a non-adversarial approach. This is in everyone’s best interests, as it can enable you to quickly move forward by saving yourself from needless stress, legal costs, and wasted time. Let our divorce attorneys help you reach a brighter future through as hassle-free a divorce as possible.
Our attorneys offer proven representation for matters such as:
What Type of Divorce Is Right for You?
The state of Florida recognizes three types of divorce. If you and your spouse decide that staying together is no longer viable, you may wish to discuss your case with a Miami divorce attorney and find out what type of divorce is right for you.
Making the right choice is important for helping you reach a solution that is satisfactory and mutually beneficial for you and your spouse.
- Simplified Dissolution of Marriage - This is a unique form of divorce that only a select few people qualify for. If you have no children from the marriage (and are not pregnant), and agree on all basic aspects of your divorce, both spouses can complete a financial affidavit and property settlement agreement forms then skip straight to the final divorce hearing. You may not even need a divorce attorney in Miami to file for this type of divorce.
- Contested Divorce - This is the most common type of divorce. A contested divorce requires both spouses to appear before a judge multiple times to plead their case, and a judge will give orders and rulings based on established formulas, procedures, and presented evidence. This will ultimately end the marriage but often leaves a lot of risk on the table and could wind up creating an unsatisfying conclusion.
- Uncontested Divorce - This is similar to a simplified dissolution of marriage, but requires negotiation and careful crafting of a final divorce agreement without a judge being involved. Any couple can file for an uncontested divorce, but both spouses must be able to work together. If they cannot agree on even a single provision, they will have to file a contested divorce and a judge will need to get involved.
Steps for Divorce in Florida
If you have decided to file for divorce in Florida, here is an overview of what must be done. If you have any specific questions regarding your case, do not hesitate to contact an experienced divorce lawyer for legal advice.
- Prepare Forms
The first step is to file the right forms for your divorce – also known as “dissolution of marriage” in Florida – to the county circuit court where you reside. You must be county resident for at least six months.
The first form to complete and file is the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The filing spouse is considered the “petitioner,” while the other is the “respondent.”
To obtain a divorce in Florida, you must demonstrate that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for three years. All issues you want the court to address needs to be included in your petition, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
- File Your Forms
Give your petition for dissolution of marriage to your county's clerk's office. Before filing with the court, you must have your petition notarized. Fortunately, most courthouses can do this for free.
You will give the clerk a signed and notarized copy of the petition, including the filing fee. In return, you should receive a copy of the forms, which include a date stamp that shows the court has filed the petition.
Make a copy of the petition for yourself and another copy to serve on your spouse.
- Serve Your Forms
“Serving” your spouse entails giving him or her a copy of your filed petition for dissolution of marriage. There are various ways to serve your spouse with your petition.
If your spouse agrees, he or her and his or her attorney can accept the service. You spouse needs to complete an “Answer and Waiver of Service” form, which can be found at your county clerk’s office.
If your spouse lives in another county, you must have the sheriff’s office or a private process server for the county where your spouse resides serve the petition. If you cannot find your spouse, you can still serve him or her by “constructive service,” which means having the notice of being served published in a local newspaper for up to 30 days.
- Financial Disclosures
Within 45 days after the petition is served, you must give your spouse a completed and signed a financial affidavit. You can obtain a blank financial affidavit from your circuit court clerk’s office.
The following are the types of information and documents you must include:
- Property and assets
- Bank and credit card accounts
- Other personal finances
If you are filing for divorce in Florida, contact us and we will conduct a thorough review of your case, determine all of your available legal options, and help you start the next chapter of your life.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Miami?
Since the state of Florida is "no-fault", couples are required to go through a separation period of at least six months before filing for divorce. The only requirement for this phase is that at least one of the spouses is a permanent resident of Florida or a member of the U.S. armed forces who is currently stationed in the state.
In the ideal world, your divorce would be uncontested and only take three weeks upon filing the paperwork. However, many divorces don't agree on every term and will need to resolve it through mediation or with a contested divorce. Contested divorces may take months, even years, to complete. Since every case is unique, there is no clear-cut answer as to how long a divorce will take you.
Is My Spouse Entitled to 401-k in Divorce?
Any amount of funds inside a 401-K is supposed to be divided between each spouse during the property division phase of a divorce. Since Florida utilizes equitable distribution, all funds will be dispersed in a fair and reasonable way. If you are aware of any funds being taken out of your 401-K, or vice versa, contact the plan's sponsor immediately to flag the actions and see if the plan allows for a stoppage.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Divorce can be frustrating and emotionally draining for all parties involved. Many cases which are hotly contested end up undergoing court litigation, which can be both lengthy and expensive.
Fortunately, there is another way to resolve the differences you have with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. If both parties are able to determine a divorce agreement on amicable and respectful terms, mediation can be a viable option. It involves a third-party mediator to help both spouses decide the outcome of the divorce. The mediator is often a family law attorney, therapist, or family counselor.
Benefits of divorce mediation include the following:
- Faster process compared to court litigation. Waiting for a verdict in court can take months or even years. On the other hand, you can work out the terms of your divorce through mediation in just a few sessions that fit your schedule, without the need to schedule and wait for court dates.
- Less costly. Whether it is court fees or attorney fees, there are many costs associated with court litigation. If a divorce goes to court, the cost may be three times as high compared to mediation.
- Keeps details confidential. Any documents, notes, or disclosures that occur during the mediation process remains private, while court litigation makes the divorce agreement public record.
- The method is a collaborative process. The goal of the mediator is the help parties find common solutions which can benefit both of them, which is considered a “win-win” resolution. When a couple goes through the courts, it often results in a “win-lose” situation.
- Enables couples to work together. Since many of our divorce clients have children, they need to learn how to cooperate after divorce in order to raise their kids. During the mediation process, both parties learn how to communicate better with one another.
Schedule a Consultation from Our Miami Divorce Lawyers
In order to qualify for divorce in Florida:
- You and your spouse must be legally married
- Either you or your spouse must live in Florida for at least six months before filing
- Your marriage must be irretrievably broken
At Mitchell & West, LLC, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal process with ease and confidence. We understand that nobody ever really wants to have to contact a lawyer for help, but sometimes it cannot be avoided.
For this reason, we make client service and communication one of our most important priorities. We believe everyone deserves high-quality representation.
Less than 5% of Florida attorneys are included on the Super Lawyers® List. It takes significant experience, results, and a strong reputation to pass the rigorous, patented selection process.
In addition to providing sterling legal representation, including pro bono services to indigent clients, we strive to be active in the local community through volunteering, stewardship, and civic involvement.
We are true trial lawyers, ready for any and all courtroom litigation challenges. No matter how complex your case may be, we have the resources, experience, and insight to protect and fight for your rights.
We understand that each case is unique, and every client deserves individualized attention. We are committed to providing one-on-one counsel and creating legal strategies tailored to your specific needs.