Orlando Contested Divorce Attorney

If you find yourself going through a divorce, an Orlando 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.

In 2020 alone, more than half a million marriages ended in divorce, according to the Statista Research Department. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than half of divorced women receive the child support they are due.

If you are going through a contested divorce in Orlando, call O’Mara Law Group and invest in a better outcome for your family.

What is a contested divorce?

Contested divorce refers to cases where spouses disagree on matters such as property division, timesharing, and child support.

What to Expect in a Contested Divorce

Family law matters are always highly charged, and contested divorces can be emotional. The Orlando divorce attorneys at O’Mara Law Group understand this and want to make the process as painless as possible for their clients.

They will walk you through each step of the process to prepare you for the journey ahead of you.

Filing and Responding

A petition for a dissolution of marriage must be filed with the clerk of court to open a divorce case. The petition is then served to the other party (the respondent), who has 20 days to file a response admitting or denying allegations.

Alternatively, the respondent can file a counter-petition (a counter-divorce suit with specific relief requested).

Mandatory Disclosure and Standard Pre-Trial Order

After the divorce case is opened, the judge may order a standard pre-trial order in which each party agrees to continue with the financial and parental status quo. In other words, parties may not transfer financial assets or deviate from everyday financial and parental responsibilities while the case is underway.

Both parties must also comply with mandatory disclosure, requiring parties to inform the other of their expenses, assets, and debts via a financial affidavit.


The next stage is mediation, whether voluntary or court-ordered. Mediation presents an opportunity for disputes to be resolved without going to court. If mediation is successful, the mediator drafts a final divorce agreement and closes the case. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case proceeds to trial, and both parties begin preparing their court case.

Trial and Appeal

At trial, a judge rules on the final divorce agreement concerning, but not limited to, child custody, child support, and property division. If either party is not satisfied, they may apply to the Florida District Court of Appeals.

Common Contested Divorce Issues

The contested divorce attorneys at O’Mara Law Group will advocate on your behalf where the law may otherwise be discriminatory.

Men's Divorce Issues

Florida law has long since migrated away from the “tender years doctrine” (the presumption that women are children’s natural primary caregivers). Today, Florida courts rely on the “best interest of the child” doctrine.

However, the precedent of historical bias can still put fathers in a disadvantaged position, potentially compromising their relationships with their children. O’Mara Law Group has experience with these issues and is committed to continuing the fight against paternal discrimination.

Women's Divorce Issues

Women are more likely to face financial uncertainty after a divorce due to lower income and disproportional childcare responsibilities. O’Mara Law Group is not intimidated by these issues. We have helped countless women attain financial independence through alimony, child support, and other financial resources.

Same-Gender Divorce Issues

Same-gender divorces face unique legal challenges both financially and as parents. Same-gender partners are often intertwined long before being granted their legal right to marriage. Therefore, it can be difficult to distinguish between marital and non-marital property.

Similarly, couples where only one partner is biologically related to the child face issues concerning their parental rights. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping same-gender couples overcome these challenges.

How long does a contested divorce take in Florida?

The length of each contested divorce varies greatly depending on the specific circumstances. Complicated contested divorces can take anywhere from six to 12 months or longer.

What rights do I have if filing for divorce in Florida?

In Florida, couples may file a divorce for any reason.

What rights do unmarried parents have?

Married partners are assumed to be the biological parents of their children. Unwed parents are not given the same presumption. Establishing the paternity of unwed fathers benefits both parents.

Establishing paternity secures your rights to:

Do I have a right to alimony?

To receive alimony, the court must establish both the need for alimony and the ability of the other party to pay alimony. The judge considers the following when determining if alimony is appropriate:

An Orlando alimony lawyer can explain your rights in regard to alimony.

Types of Alimony

Alimony payments may take several forms.


Bridge-the-gap alimony aims to ease the transition from married to single. Payments are based on legitimate short-term needs and may not exceed two years.


Rehabilitative alimony provides a financially dependent party with the space to become economically independent. It is designed to lessen divorce’s financial blow on individuals who contributed to the marriage via homemaking or child care rather than financially.

The court requires a rehabilitative plan illustrating how the recipient will build their capacity for financial independence, including:

  1. Redevelopment of previous skills
  2. Re-attainment of credentials
  3. Further education
  4. Vocational training
  5. Acquiring necessary work experience to increase employability

Durational alimony is temporary and usually ordered after short- or medium-term marriages. Durational alimony may be awarded in long-term marriages where permanent alimony is deemed inappropriate. The length of durational alimony may not exceed the length of the marriage.


Permanent alimony may be awarded only when other forms of spousal support are deemed inappropriate. The goal of permanent alimony is to provide for the needs of a party who cannot provide for themselves after a long-term marriage.

How can an Orlando contested divorce lawyer help me?

O’Mara Law Group will take on as much of the legal burden as possible. Filing for divorce without the expertise of an experienced family lawyer could end with you signing unfair agreements or forfeiting some of your personal, financial, or parental rights.

Create a Parenting Plan

Our Orlando contested divorce attorneys have years of experience resolving complicated divorce cases. We are dedicated to helping you find solutions that are in the best interest of you and your children.

Child Support

Child support is one of the most contested issues in a parenting plan. If parents cannot agree, a court will rule on the matter. Florida law guides the court in determining child support.

It will consider elements such as:

Child Custody

When assessing child custody issues, the court considers the following:

File for Emergency Custody

If you believe your child may be in danger or taken out of state, you do not need to wait for a long, drawn-out custody court case. Our attorneys will help you file a petition for immediate emergency custody.

If granted, police will be immediately dispatched to the child’s location. The other parent will have a chance to relinquish custody willingly. However, the police are authorized to remove the child by force if necessary.

Divide Marital Property

Marital property includes any asset or liability accumulated during the marriage, separately or jointly. Nonmarital property consists of assets and liabilities incurred before the marriage or excluded in a written agreement.

Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that rather than splitting everything 50/50, the court splits marital assets according to what it deems fair and reasonable.

Post-Divorce Modifications

We are here to help you reach the best possible legal agreements during and after your divorce. Changes in personal circumstances may require changes to alimony, child custody, or parenting time. If you or your former partner’s circumstances change, call the skilled attorneys at O’Mara Law Group.

How much does a contested divorce cost in Florida?

The cost of a divorce in Florida varies significantly depending on the case. Many of our clients find that hiring an attorney costs far less than what they otherwise would have lost by proceeding without representation.

Why is O'Mara Law Group the right choice?

The attorneys at O’Mara Law Group have over 30 years of experience serving clients in Orlando. Firm founder Mark O’Mara is board-certified in marital and family law, a Supreme Court-certified family mediator, and a certified collaborative law attorney. 

Mr. O’Mara and his team have helped settle many complex contested divorces and are passionate about protecting your interests and those of your children.

If you are considering a divorce, call us today at (407) 753-6925.

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221 NE Ivanhoe Blvd. Suite 200 Orlando, FL 32804

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