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Miami-Dade County Family Court

How to File for Divorce in Miami

In Miami-Dade County, a divorce action is started by a Miami Divorce Attorney drafting a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (in other states the Petition is called a Divorce Complaint) and other required legal papers and then filing them with the Dade County Family Court. Two of the most important considerations in drafting the Petition include whether the divorcing couple are the parents of any minor children and whether there are marital assets and debts acquired during the marriage that must be divided in the course of the Family Court process. A process server will deliver the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage upon the respondent (sometimes referred to as the defendant).

The next step in the Dissolution process is for both the petitioner (also referred to as the plaintiff) and the respondent to exchange documents relating to their income, assets and debts. These documents are part of the FL Court's Mandatory Disclosure requirements and require the filing of a Financial Affidavit. In most circumstances, it is advisable to have a Miami Divorce Attorney draft these documents especially if there are issues of underreported or unreported income.

The Florida Dissolution of Marriage case can take one of three paths - default, uncontested, or contested. A default occurs if the respondent or his or her Miami Divorce Lawyer fails to file an Answer to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage within twenty days of service of the Petition. An Order on a Motion for Default will grant the petitioner all relief that he or she has sought in the Petition. An uncontested case occurs when the petitioner and respondent have agreed upon all financial terms regarding support, property distribution and time-sharing (child custody) and the divorcing spouses have both signed a written agreement drafted by their Miami Divorce Attorneys known as a Marriage Settlement Agreement. A family court case can reach a settlement by negotiation and agreement, mediation, the use of the Collaborative Family Law process, or other alternative dispute resolution options. A contested case occurs when the respondent or his or her Miami-Dade Divorce Lawyer files an Answer to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or files an Answer and Counter-Petition to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and indicates his or her disagreement with the relief requested by the petitioner.

In all contested Dade County Family Court cases, the petitioner and respondent are required to attend Mandatory Mediation before the Miami-Dade County Family Judge will schedule a hearing on the contested issue or issues. Mediation is a process that enables the parties to make their own decisions regarding their best interests in the financial and time-sharing aspects of their Florida family law issues. Compare this process to a contested trial where the trial judge makes the decisions for the parties and their children. Court-appointed mediators are available for parties who cannot afford private mediation. Private mediators must be paid for by the parties but generally have more flexibility regarding scheduling dates and times for mediation.

If the parties are unable to settle their contested Florida family law issues, their Dade County Divorce Lawyers will schedule a trial before the assigned Miami-Dade County Family Court judge. Some cases are referred by the Dade County judge to a General Master who is an attorney employed by the Family Court to resolve certain contested issues. Contested cases cost the parties the most both emotionally and financially; however, there are times when there is no other option except a contested family court trial.

Filing for Custody in Miami-Dade County Time-Sharing Cases

In Miami-Dade County, child custody actions are referred to as "time-sharing" cases. A time-sharing action is started by a Miami Custody Attorney drafting a Petition for Paternity and other required legal papers and then filing them with the Dade County Family Court. The Miami-Dade County Paternity Petition action may also be raised as part of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, sometimes referred to as a Divorce Complaint. A process server will deliver the Petition for Paternity upon the respondent (sometimes referred to as the defendant).

The next step in the Miami child custody process is for both the petitioner (also referred to as the plaintiff) and the respondent to exchange documents relating to their income, assets and debts. These documents are part of the Florida Court's Mandatory Disclosure requirements and require the filing of a Financial Affidavit. In most circumstances, it is advisable to have a Miami Child Custody Attorney draft these documents especially if there are issues of underreported or unreported income.

The Dade County paternity action can take one of three paths - default, uncontested, or contested. A default occurs if the respondent or his or her Miami Paternity Lawyer fails to file an Answer to the Petition for Paternity within twenty days of service of the Petition. An Order on a Motion for Default will grant the petitioner all relief that he or she has sought in the Petition. An uncontested case occurs when the petitioner and respondent have agreed upon all terms and the parents have both signed a written agreement drafted by their Miami Custody Attorneys. . A family court case can reach a settlement by negotiation and agreement, mediation, the use of the Collaborative Family Law process, or other alternative dispute resolution options. A contested case occurs when the respondent or his or her Miami-Dade Time-Sharing Lawyer files an Answer to the Paternity Petition or files an Answer and Counter-Petition to the Petition for Paternity and indicates his or her disagreement with the relief requested by the petitioner.

In all contested Dade County Family Court cases, the petitioner and respondent are required to attend Mandatory Mediation before the Miami-Dade County Family Judge will schedule a hearing on the contested issue or issues. Mediation is a process that enables the parties to make their own decisions regarding their best interests in the financial and time-sharing aspects of their Florida family law issues. Compare this process to a contested trial where the trial judge makes the decisions for the parties and their children. Court-appointed mediators are available for parties who cannot afford private mediation. Private mediators must be paid for by the parties but generally have more flexibility regarding scheduling dates and times for mediation.

If the parties are unable to settle their contested Florida family law issues, their Dade County Custody Lawyers will schedule a trial before the assigned Miami-Dade County Family Court judge. Some cases are referred to a General Magistrate for a hearing. Contested cases cost the parties the most both emotionally and financially; however, there are times when there is no other option except a contested family court trial. .

How to Obtain Support in Miami-Dade County

In Miami-Dade County, a spousal support action is commenced by a Miami Spousal Support Attorney including a count for the same in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (in other states the Petition is called a Divorce Complaint) or by filing an Petition for Support without Dissolution if a divorce action is not commenced by the parties. The Miami Support Lawyer also drafts other required legal papers and files all of the legal papers with the Dade County Family Court. A child support action is commenced in Miami-Dade County by the filing of a Petition for Paternity which may also include time-sharing (child custody) issues. A process server will deliver the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Petition for Support without Dissolution and/or the Paternity Petition upon the respondent (sometimes referred to as the defendant).

The next step in the Miami child or spousal support process is for both the petitioner (also referred to as the plaintiff) and the respondent to exchange documents relating to their income, assets and debts. These documents are part of the FL Court's Mandatory Disclosure requirements and require the filing of a Financial Affidavit. In most circumstances, it is advisable to have a Miami Support Attorney draft these documents especially if there are issues of underreported or unreported income.

The child or spousal support case can take one of three paths - default, uncontested, or contested. A default occurs if the respondent or his or her Miami Child or Spousal Support Lawyer fails to file an Answer to the Petition within twenty days of service of the Petition. An Order on a Motion for Default will grant the petitioner all relief that he or she has sought in the Petition. An uncontested case occurs when the petitioner and respondent have agreed upon all financial terms and the parents or divorcing spouses have both signed a written agreement drafted by their Miami Support Attorneys. A family court case can reach a settlement by negotiation and agreement, mediation, the use of the Collaborative Family Law process, or other alternative dispute resolution options. A contested case occurs when the respondent or his or her Miami-Dade Support Lawyer files an Answer to the Petition or files an Answer and Counter-Petition to the Petition and indicates his or her disagreement with the relief requested by the petitioner.

In all contested Dade County Family Court cases, the petitioner and respondent are required to attend Mandatory Mediation before the Miami-Dade County Family Judge will schedule a hearing on the contested issue or issues. Mediation is a process that enables the parties to make their own decisions regarding their best interests in the financial and time-sharing aspects of their Florida family law issues. Compare this process to a contested trial where the trial judge makes the decisions for the parties and their children. Court-appointed mediators are available for parties who cannot afford private mediation. Private mediators must be paid for by the parties but generally have more flexibility regarding scheduling dates and times for mediation.

If the parties are unable to settle their contested Florida family law issues, their Dade County Support Lawyers will schedule a trial before the assigned Miami-Dade County Family Court judge or a General Magistrate. Contested cases cost the parties the most both emotionally and financially; however, there are times when there is no other option except a contested family court trial. .

Contact our Dade County Divorce Lawyers

At Vari & Associates, LLC. our Dade County divorce, support and custody lawyers have the experience to assist you with your Florida family law issue whether you are the petitioner or respondent, mother or father, husband or wife. Our Miami-Dade law office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm.

Consultations are available in person at our downtown Miami law office and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, West Country Club Drive in Aventura, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.

Telephone our office at (305) 329-2560 or send us an email to schedule a consultation.

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Vari & Associates is located in Miami, Florida, and serves the following South Florida cities and counties: Aventura, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Doral, Fountainbleu, Hialeah, Homestead, Kendall, Key Biscayne, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Lakes, Miami Gardens, Pinecrest, Key Largo; and Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County.