Orlando Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is rarely easy, and it is typically one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. This isn’t something you should have to go through on your own. You deserve a trusted advocate standing beside you. That is where the Orlando divorce lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group can help.
Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: March 28, 2023
The decisions you make throughout the divorce process — concerning property division, child custody, and financial support — will affect you for the rest of your life.
Since 1986, our award-winning Florida trial attorneys have been a source of strength, compassion, and support for clients navigating stressful divorces and other challenging family law disputes. We help our clients achieve the best results for themselves and their families — especially when young children are involved.
Benefit from the expertise of a board-certified marital and family law attorney and a legal team with over 35 years of experience handling complex divorce cases in Florida. Call our law office in Orlando to set up a confidential case evaluation today.
Why You Should Choose the O’Mara Law Group When You Get a Divorce in Orlando, Florida
Divorce is a complex legal process through which both spouses must agree on certain terms before it can be finalized. Even if you and your spouse agree that it is time to split up, it can be difficult to see eye-to-eye on every aspect of the dissolution. Plus, Florida has several procedures and rules that must be followed, and any deviations can be time-consuming and costly.
Hiring an Orlando family law attorney helps to provide clarity during a time of uncertainty and strife and sets you up to get through the divorce process successfully. But your choice of attorney matters. You don’t just need the best divorce lawyer in Orlando — you need the best divorce attorney for you.
Here is why you should call the O’Mara Law Group for help:
- Founding attorney Mark O’Mara is board-certified in marital and family law by the Florida Bar, a certified collaborative law attorney, and a Supreme Court–certified family mediator
- Our attorneys have decades of combined experience handling complex divorce disputes across the state of Florida.
- We have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Top 100 Trial Lawyers for our client-driven approach and top results.
- We embrace non-adversarial forms of negotiation, including mediation and collaborative divorce, to minimize the stress and expense.
- Our client satisfaction is second to none.
We will make sure your voice is heard and that your story is told. We will do everything in our power to meet your wishes. We will be the level head and pillar of strength you need when things get tough.
Contact our divorce attorneys in Orlando to learn more about our team and discover why you want us standing beside you during this stressful time. Your first consultation is free, so get in touch with a member of our team today.
Overview of Divorce in Florida
Divorce is a legal process through which two spouses ask the court to dissolve their marriage.
Florida has a 20-day waiting period for divorces, which means that a judge won’t sign off on the divorce until at least 20 days after the initial complaint is filed. This gives both spouses time to think about their decision and potentially change their minds.
In reality, most divorces take much longer than 20 days. That is because it can be tough for spouses to see eye-to-eye, and several important laws and procedures apply to the divorce process.
What are the different types of divorce in Florida?
Florida state laws refer to divorce as the dissolution of marriage and specify the following divorce types:
- Simplified dissolution of marriage, the fastest and easiest divorce, is allowed only under the following conditions:
- Dissolution of marriage with no children and no property
- Dissolution of marriage with no children
- Dissolution of marriage with children
What are Florida's divorce residency requirements?
At least one spouse must have resided in the state of Florida for at least six months prior to filing a petition for dissolution. You must file for divorce in the county in which you reside, which means the Orange County Clerk of Courts would oversee divorces in Orlando.
What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault state in divorce cases, which means one party does not have to prove the other party’s wrongdoing. State law provides the following two grounds for divorce:
- An irretrievably broken marriage
- Incapacity of one spouse
To get a divorce, you must simply say that you and your spouse have differences you can’t overcome.
How are the division of property and debts handled in a Florida divorce?
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that rather than dividing marital property evenly between the former spouses, the property will be divided based on what the court deems fair after considering details about the marriage, including each party’s contributions and economic circumstances, the duration of the marriage, and other relevant factors.
Divorcing couples may own property jointly and individually. When considering how property will be divided between the spouses, the court must differentiate between marital and nonmarital property. In most cases, only marital property is subject to division.
Due to the degree to which married couples meld their lives together, this is not always straightforward. Our Orlando divorce lawyers can help ensure you receive your fair share of the marital property and that your nonmarital property is protected.
How do I file for divorce in Orlando?
If you or your spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months, you can initiate the divorce process by filing a petition with the Orange County Clerk of Courts. You will need to file either a petition for simplified dissolution of marriage or a petition for dissolution of marriage, depending on the type of divorce you seek.
When you file for a divorce, you are the petitioner. Once you have filed a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court, a copy must be served to your spouse. Your spouse is the respondent.
Serving copies of the petition (and supporting documents) gives notice that you are seeking a divorce and provides your spouse with the opportunity to contest any terms you have presented in the initial request.
How long does it take for an Orlando divorce to be finalized?
This varies based on the complexity of your case. A simplified, uncontested, or collaborative divorce could be finalized in a matter of weeks. Contested and complicated divorces can take months or even longer to resolve.
We Will Handle Every Element of Your Orlando Divorce
At the O’Mara Law Group, we understand that every divorce is unique, and we pride ourselves on going the extra mile to understand the needs and wishes of our clients as well as the intricacies of each divorce.
A divorce is classified as contested when you and your spouse disagree about any element of the dissolution. For example, you would have a contested divorce if you agreed about everything except the distribution of a piece of property.
Although you agree on everything else, the conflict involving the property will prevent you from finalizing your divorce. Our attorneys can help you work toward an agreeable solution with your spouse and advocate for you in court.
Sometimes both spouses are entirely in agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. Many times, this is the case when no children or significant marital assets are involved. In these situations, the divorce is classified as uncontested.
You might not think you need a lawyer if your divorce is uncontested, but that is not always the case. Remember, the divorce process can be tricky to navigate. Even relatively minor mistakes can cause serious setbacks.
The longer the divorce proceedings take, the more costly it can get. Our divorce attorneys in Orlando can review the terms of your dissolution to ensure that your rights are protected.
Men face unique challenges in divorce. This is especially apparent in child custody disputes.
Like most other states, Florida’s child custody laws are gender-neutral, but according to The Washington Post, fathers across the country feel alienated from their children and overwhelmed by child support obligations.
Women are more likely to face financial uncertainty after a divorce. A 2017 Pew Research study revealed that only about a third of married or cohabiting women contribute more than half of the income to a household.
Women who also end up with most of the parenting time face an even greater likelihood of experiencing poverty after a divorce. In addition, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than half of custodial parents receive the full amount of child support they are due.
Retirement Daily has made note of the following unique issues same-sex couples may face in a divorce:
- Post-Marriage Equality: Many same-sex couples were forced to cohabitate for years before same-sex marriage became legal, raising questions about which property should be considered marital property.
- Child Custody: Same-sex couples may have children to whom only one spouse is a biological parent, but both spouses are essentially their parents.
An informed law firm is well-prepared to tackle these issues and help same-sex couples continue their ongoing battle for equality.
Child custody is often the most contentious issue in a divorce proceeding. The state of Florida’s sole consideration is the child’s best interest. Even when both parents wish to act in the child’s best interest, they may not agree on what that is.
Ultimately, parents must negotiate a parenting plan, which is a detailed document that describes how the parents will share responsibilities, split parenting time, communicate with the child, and delegate decision-making. Our attorneys will help you formulate the best plan for your children and work toward an amicable resolution with your soon-to-be ex.
If the plan is contested, our job as divorce and child custody attorneys is to show the court why your plan is the best possible arrangement for your kids.
State child support guidelines provide the court with guidance in awarding child support. The financial resources of each parent, parenting time, cost of health insurance, and childcare expenses are considered when awarding child support.
Ideally, these matters are resolved by agreement before the court date. Our child support attorneys can provide mediation services and help couples come to an agreement. If this is not possible, we are always well prepared to litigate on your behalf in court.
A parent sharing custody of children with a former spouse who wishes to relocate with the children to any location more than 50 miles away must reach a formal written agreement with the other spouse or petition the court for authorization to do so.
The court will base its decision on the child’s best interest, including any enhanced emotional, financial, and educational benefits to the child. The court will also consider whether the move is in good faith or an attempt to deprive the other parent of parenting time.
The parental relocation attorneys at O’Mara Law Group can help divorced couples draft an agreement, or if necessary, we can file a relocation petition in court and litigate for you.
Alimony is spousal support awarded when the court deems it necessary to provide a fair and equitable circumstance to both spouses. The circumstances the court considers include the following:
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The age and physical/emotional condition of each party
- The financial resources of each party
- Each party’s earning capacity, education, skills, and employability
- The time needed to become more employable
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage
- Child-rearing responsibilities
- Tax consequences of alimony to both parties
- Income and assets of both parties
- The occurrence of adultery
Alimony can be a one-time lump-sum payment, temporary periodic payments, or permanent payments, depending on the circumstances. The award negotiated by a skilled alimony lawyer will not leave the paying party with a lower income than the recipient except in special cases as determined by the court.
Because Florida is not a community property state, property division is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. Assets (and debts) are allocated fairly, not necessarily equally.
Ensuring a full accounting of marital assets and debts and a proper value assessment is critical. Our property division attorneys work closely with respected financial and property experts to make sure all property is categorized and assessed appropriately.
We can also help you challenge the status of a particular piece of property and fight to keep the assets that are most important to you.
Modifications of Orders
Changing circumstances may necessitate post-divorce modifications. You may require adjustments to alimony, child support, or parenting time. Our experienced divorce lawyers in Florida can help you request post-divorce modifications, even if we were not involved in your original case.
Sometimes it is necessary to contest or establish paternity as part of a divorce proceeding, especially when child custody and support are contested issues. Our paternity lawyers will help you navigate the process and work to resolve any issues that might arise.
If you or a child are the victims of domestic violence, our divorce attorneys in Orlando can help you get to safety. We can obtain an order of protection for you and work to put permanent distance between you and your abusive spouse.
Prenups are contracts executed before marriage and are binding as long as both spouses entered into the agreement voluntarily and with a sound mind. Our attorneys can help you work to enforce or contest the terms of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement when you are navigating a divorce.
Achieving Divorce Through Alternative Forms of Dispute Resolution
Just because you are getting a divorce doesn’t mean that you have to battle it out in court. In fact, it is better if you and your spouse can sit down and speak openly and calmly about the terms of your divorce. After all, those terms will have an impact on your lives for years to come. At the O’Mara Law Group, we embrace alternative dispute resolution strategies that support these types of conversations.
Through mediation, you and your spouse work toward mutually agreeable solutions to the terms of your divorce, including custody, property division, and financial support. A neutral third-party mediator helps you have a conversation, identify common ground, and work to achieve a positive result. The mediator has no power over the process results—you and your spouse maintain control over how the terms are set.
Think of arbitration as a private trial. You and your spouse (and your attorneys) can present your sides of the story to a third party, known as an arbitrator. The arbitrator is essentially the judge and gets to have the final say over how the aspects of your divorce are resolved.
Florida § 61.55 establishes a collaborative law process for dispute resolution. A collaborative divorce is a voluntary settlement procedure designed to reduce the emotional and financial toll of litigation.
Collaborative divorces help to divorce couples develop a win-win divorce settlement in a manner that promotes mutual respect, insulates the children from conflict, and helps each spouse feel empowered. Mark O’Mara is certified in collaborative law and has helped many divorcing couples achieve win-win divorce settlements through this avenue.
How much does a divorce attorney cost in Orlando, Florida?
The cost of a Florida divorce varies based on multiple factors:
- Whether the divorce is contested
- The duration of the marriage
- Whether children are involved
- The amount and types of property to be divided
Hiring a divorce attorney is an investment that can pay significant long-term dividends. Many of our clients have found that the cost of hiring an attorney was much lower than what they would have lost had they proceeded without representation.
What if I can’t afford a divorce lawyer in Florida?
The circumstances of your case may justify a court order for the other spouse to pay your attorney fees, as permitted by Florida § 61.16.
How much does a divorce cost in Florida without a lawyer?
This depends on the type of divorce and which petitions need to be filed. Every divorce petition requires filing fees. The filing fee for a basic divorce petition, not including the summons, is $408. Additional fees apply if you need to file numerous petitions during the case, such as a petition to establish paternity or to counter petitions filed by your spouse.
Trusted Orlando Divorce Lawyers Ready to Help You Achieve Your Desired Results
Even in amicable divorces, emotions can get in the way of decisions, and disagreements can arise. If you are unfamiliar with state divorce laws, you could unknowingly forfeit some of your rights. The experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at the O’Mara Law Group can fight to protect your interests.
You deserve to work with a passionate and experienced family law attorney who understands and appreciates what you are going through. At the O’Mara Law Group, we strive to make a meaningful and genuine difference in our clients’ lives. We will be your fiercest advocate and help you realize the desired outcome of your Orlando divorce.
Contact us to start the process today.
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