Contested Divorce Attorney
If you find yourself going through a divorce, a contested divorce attorney from O’Mara Law Group will help you understand your legal rights, advocate on your behalf, and fight for the best interests of your family. Having experienced legal counsel during a contested divorce is critical. At the O’Mara Law Group, we’ll help you understand your legal rights and advocate on your behalf at trial or through mediation.
Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: September 22, 2023
A contested divorce is frustrating and difficult. You may feel alone, but thousands of people undergo the same process. More than 600,000 couples divorced in 2020 alone, according to the Statista Research Department.
Of course, fellowship is no substitute for advocacy.
At the O’Mara Law Group, our skilled and empathetic divorce lawyers are here to help you navigate your divorce and protect your financial interests. We’ve helped many Florida families navigate this emotional and financially taxing process, from filing the initial petition to appealing a decision.
We can assist with all aspects of a divorce in Orlando, Florida, including
- Property division
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
- Child support
- Post-divorce modifications
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than half of divorced women receive the child support the court awarded. We fight for what matters most to you because we understand how much your family matters.
If you’re going through a contested divorce in Orlando, call O’Mara Law Group. Let us guide you and your children to a favorable, long-term outcome.
Work with a contested divorce attorney with decades of experience
When your future is on the line, skilled representation matters. The O’Mara Law Group is your wise decision for Orlando contested divorce representation. We offer:
- Trusted expertise: Mark O’Mara has Board Certification in Marital and Family Law from the Florida Bar.
- Elite status: Cathleen Winter was recognized as one of the 10 Best Attorneys in Florida in 2018 and named to the Super Lawyers Florida Rising Stars List three years in a row.She is also the current President of the Greater Orlando Asian American Bar Association, and is a Founding Member of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigators (AACFL) Orlando Chapter.
- Mark Rabinowitz has been Board Certified in Marital and Family Law in Florida since 1999. He has served on the Marital and Family Law Certification Committee of The Florida Bar, and has served as a member of the Family Law Rules Committee.
- Rose Marsh has been practicing Family Law in Orlando for over 31 years. She is a Florida Supreme Court Family Law Mediator and also practices Collaborative Law.
- Mediation experience: Attorney O’Mara is a Supreme Court-certified family mediator.
- Negotiation skills: Our attorneys have decades of experience negotiating complex contested divorce cases.
- Unparalleled client satisfaction: The O’Mara Law Group has many five-star reviews and testimonials from grateful clients.
We’re dedicated to transparency and honest client communication. We invite you to ask us anything about our track record and experience.
How We Can Help You Through a Contested Divorce in Orlando
Our experience and knowledge allow us to lead you through all aspects of a contested divorce.
Equitable Division of Marital Property
Florida is an equitable distribution state. Instead of splitting all assets 50/50, the court distributes property based on what it believes to be fair and reasonable.
Marital property includes all assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage, separately or jointly. It excludes assets or liabilities excluded in a written agreement or acquired before the marriage. Those assets and liabilities are considered non-marital property.
If you need financial support after your divorce, it’s essential to have a lawyer to argue your case.
There are four types of alimony in Florida, per state statutes:
- Bridge-the-gap: Awarded to ease the transition from married to single life, based on short-term needs and limited to two years
- Rehabilitative: Granted to help a financially dependent partner become more independent through skill development and job training
- Durational: Limited to the length of the marriage and most often awarded after shorter marriages
- Permanent: Distributed to provide for a partner who cannot support themselves after a long-term marriage
To determine the appropriate type of alimony, if any, the court must establish one party’s need and the other party’s ability to pay. It does so by considering factors such as:
- Standard of living
- Earning capacity and income
- Contributions to the marriage
- Both parties’ financial resources, including debts
As an experienced alimony lawyer in Orlando, Mark O’Mara will fight for the support you deserve.
Child support is one of the most contested issues in divorce. If parents cannot agree, the court will draw on Florida family law to issue a ruling. It will consider factors such as:
- Child care expenses
- Both parents’ financial resources
- Shares of parenting time
Your child support lawyer is here to protect your child’s future and argue for the financial resources you deserve.
Creating a Parenting Plan in a Contested Divorce
Our contested divorce attorneys have years of experience navigating complex custody and parenting plan issues. An experienced child custody lawyer will consider your needs and your child’s to facilitate a strategy that works financially, logistically, and emotionally.
If you have concerns that your spouse may take your child out of state or put them in danger, we can help you file for immediate emergency custody. A granted emergency custody order dispatches police to the child’s location to assist in removal.
The O’Mara Law Group is here for you during and after your divorce. If you or your partner experiences a change in circumstances, you may need to alter your alimony, parenting, or child support arrangements.
Should that happen, we’ll be there to represent you, just as we have been since the beginning.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is a marriage dissolution in which spouses disagree on one or more legal matters. Disagreement may regard property division, child custody, or any other factor that the courts must resolve before the divorce is final.
What is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce in Florida?
Florida divorce proceedings begin with a petition for dissolution of the marriage. The form you file will depend on whether you have dependent children and marital assets.
One party files the petition, and the other files an answer. If the person filing the answer agrees to all terms of the petition, the divorce is uncontested.
Assuming both parties have provided the required documentation, either party can contact the court to schedule the final hearing.
Legal representation is not mandatory in an uncontested divorce. However, there is always a benefit to consulting with knowledgeable counsel.
The divorce is contested if the recipient denies or disagrees with any part of the petition and cannot settle the disagreement. The next step is for each party to consult with a Florida contested divorce attorney and discuss how to proceed.
An Orlando Contested Divorce Attorney Can Help You Secure Your Financial Future
Family law matters are always emotional, and contested divorces are particularly charged. The Orlando contested divorce lawyers at O’Mara Law Group understand your difficulties and are here to make the process as peaceful as possible.
Your lawyer will walk you through every step of the process, so you feel comfortable and prepared.
- Filing and responding: If you’re filing for divorce, your lawyer will help you submit the paperwork with the court clerk.
The sheriff or an individual they designate will serve the petition to the other party. The served party has 20 days to file a response or a counterpetition. If you are responding to a petition, your lawyer will assist you in deciding what step to take.
- Standard pre-trial order: Once the divorce case is open, the judge may issue a standard pre-trial order requiring the divorcing couple to maintain the status quo. Under this order, divorcing parties may not change established parenting and financial habits while the case is active. Your lawyer will help you understand the terms of this agreement.
- Mandatory disclosure: Divorcing couples in Florida must submit specific financial documents within 45 days of the courts serving the petition. A lawyer can help you understand and comply with all disclosure requirements to avoid delays in the proceedings.
- Mediation: Once your paperwork is in, the next stage is mediation. The court may order mediation if you and your partner cannot agree on divorce terms. It may also be voluntary.
If you agree in mediation, the mediator will draft a final agreement and close the case. If mediation attempts are unsuccessful, the case will go to trial.
- Trial and appeal: If your case goes to trial, a judge will rule on the terms of your divorce agreement. Contested matters may include but are not limited to child custody, property division, and child support.
If either party is unsatisfied with the ruling, they may plead their case with the Florida District Court of Appeals. Your lawyer will continue to counsel you and pursue the settlement you deserve.
Your divorce lawyer from O’Mara Law Group will be at your side throughout the process.
How long does a separation take?
Florida does not require a legal order to separate. You and your spouse can live separately as soon as you decide to do so.
To separate under the law, you must file a petition. The case is open when one party submits paperwork to the court.
The time from filing to finalization depends on the couple’s circumstances and how quickly they move through each step. The state requires a minimum 20-day waiting period between filing the petition and the final hearing, but many contested divorces take much longer.
Circumstances that can delay finalization include incomplete paperwork and disagreement over terms. Extremely complicated divorces can take anywhere from six to 12 months. Some take even longer.
How much does a contested divorce cost in Florida?
The cost of divorcing in Florida varies dramatically from one case to the next. Complicated divorces with extensive back-and-forth between parties tend to be the most costly.
Factors contributing to the cost include:
- Custody: Parenting plans can take a long time to resolve. Because costs depend on hours of legal service, prolonged debates add to the overall expense.
- Multiple or complex assets: The fewer assets you have to divide, the less time it will take and the less it will cost. Conversely, if you have a long list of investments or multiple real estate holdings, property division will take more time and money to work out.
- Amicability: Being able to sit down and work through issues calmly is a money-saver and an emotional benefit in a contested divorce. If you can converse rationally and work through issues, you have a better chance of settling your divorce without high court costs.
- Mediation vs. trial: Mediation is typically less time-consuming and less expensive than going to trial.
- Filing fees: Florida courts charge a fee when you file for divorce.
- Legal costs: You and your attorney will work out a fair and reasonable billing arrangement.
Many of our clients find our legal fees to be significantly lower than what they would have lost if they hadn’t sought representation. The skilled attorneys at O’Mara Law Group understand the Florida divorce process and will fight for your best interests.
What rights do I have in the separation process?
As a Florida resident, you have the right to file for divorce for any reason. In the context of that divorce, you have the right to:
- Pursue custody of your biological or adopted children if you so desire
- Participate in parenting if your doing so is in the child’s best interests
- Receive child support if appropriate, given the custody agreement
- Receive your fair share of joint marital property
- Request alimony if you demonstrate financial need
- Appeal any court decisions if you disagree with them
O’Mara Law Group is committed to upholding and defending your rights throughout the divorce process.
Get Experienced Representation Today
The contested divorce attorneys at O’Mara Law Group have more than 30 years of experience serving clients across Orlando. Founding attorney Mark O’Mara is a highly respected board-certified marital and family law attorney who taught seminars for the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, the Central Family Law American Inn of Court, and the Florida Family Law Practice for Paralegals program.
Attorney O’Mara and his team have represented clients in numerous contested divorce cases. We believe strongly in protecting your and your children’s interests.
Let us be your legal counsel during this challenging time. Call us today at (407) 753-6925.
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“Such a professional and personable firm. Everyone treated me with respect throughout my entire process. I absolutely dread ever needing the services of an attorney again but I would certainly go straight back to Mark. Susan was awesome and she totally got me from day one. I can’t begin to say how helpful that was for me. Thank you to the entire team!!"
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