Question

Do I need a Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?

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Answer

Florida is a no-fault state, which means that there need not be a reason or fault attributable to one party in order to obtain a divorce. One party can merely state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and the parties can be divorced as quickly as 20 days later. An uncontested divorce means that the parties (soon to be ex-husband and ex-wife) have come to an agreement regarding the settlement of their ending marriage. This includes, but is not limited to: distribution of assets and liabilities, alimony, parental responsibility, time-sharing, dependency exemptions for the child(ren), a complete parenting plan, filing of taxes (married separately/jointly), attorney's fees/costs, anything that the parties wish to agree upon, etc. 

Although the parties sometimes draft their own paperwork to save money or hire a low-cost paralegal to draft the uncontested divorce paperwork for them, it is definitely not advisable as the parties as well as the paralegal are not divorce lawyers with the knowledge and experience necessary to make sure the parties' rights are covered. 

Most divorce cases are reopened because one or both parties wish to modify the divorce documents or enforce it. Countless times, one of the parties seeks the advice of a lawyer after the fact and the lawyer informs him or her that the original divorce documents were drafted poorly and it will be difficult to enforce or modify. The cost of the post-judgment lawyer ends up being much greater in order to try and "fix" the initial divorce documents than hiring a lawyer to draft the "uncontested" divorce correctly the first time around to convey the parties' agreement. Sometimes, the post-judgment lawyer cannot even fix what was done incorrectly the first time.

A divorce can be extremely stressful and cumbersome even if it is "uncontested." If the divorce is done incorrectly, you could lose important rights relating to your children and/or your assets and liabilities, etc. For these reasons, you should hire an experienced divorce lawyer to represent you in your uncontested divorce case.

Please note that one lawyer can draft the "uncontested" divorce documents for the parties; however, that lawyer cannot legally represent both parties as that is a conflict of interest. Therefore, the attorney can only give legal advice to the party that retained or hired the attorney.

The Law Office of Donna C. Hung, P.A., has represented numerous uncontested divorce clients and offers a reasonable fee for uncontested divorces in the central Florida area, including, but not limited to, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. For more information, please visit www.donnahunglaw.com or call (407)999-0099.

Answered 03/10/2014

Disclaimer: This answer was provided by an attorney selected to Super Lawyers, and is intended to be an educated opinion only. This answer should not be relied upon as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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