Brandon Contested Divorce Lawyers

What Are Grounds for Divorce in Florida?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you do not need to prove that your spouse did anything wrong in order to obtain a divorce. Instead, you can simply state that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that you and your spouse are no longer able to get along. You can also say that your spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years.

It is important to note that, if you and your spouse have children, the court may require you to attend marriage counseling before allowing you to pursue a divorce.

To speak to one of our Brandon contested divorce attorneys, please contact us online or call (813) 305-0353 to schedule a consultation.

How Do I File for Contested Divorce in Florida?

Before you can obtain a divorce in Florida, you and your spouse will need to meet the state’s residency requirements. Specifically, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. You must also file for divorce in the county where you or your spouse resides.

To begin the divorce process, you will need to file a “petition for the dissolution of marriage” with your local family court. Your spouse will then be served with the divorce papers and will have 20 days to respond. If your spouse does not respond within this timeframe, you may be able to obtain a “default” divorce, meaning the court will grant your divorce and approve your requests for property division, child custody, and other issues.

If your spouse does respond to the divorce papers, you will need to begin the process of resolving any contested issues, such as property division, alimony, and child custody. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on these issues, your divorce will proceed to litigation.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Florida?

How long it takes to get a contested divorce in Florida will depend on several factors. These can include:

  • The level of conflict between you and your spouse
  • Whether you are able to come to an agreement on certain issues outside of court
  • How long it takes to prepare for trial
  • How long it takes to complete the trial itself

Generally speaking, contested divorces take longer to resolve than uncontested divorces. In Florida, it is not uncommon for a contested divorce to take six months to a year or more to complete. In some cases, it can take several years to finalize a divorce.

What Happens at a Contested Divorce Hearing?

If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on certain issues, your divorce will proceed to a trial. At the trial, a judge will hear arguments from both you and your spouse and will decide how to resolve the issues that you are unable to agree on. This can include issues related to property division, alimony, child custody, and more.

During the trial, you and your spouse will have the opportunity to present evidence to support your arguments. This can include testimony from you, your spouse, and other witnesses. You may also need to present documents, such as financial records, to support your case.

After hearing all of the evidence, the judge will issue a ruling. This ruling will be based on what the judge believes is in the best interest of you, your spouse, and your children. The judge will also consider several other factors, such as the financial situation of each spouse and each spouse’s ability to provide for his or her own needs.

How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost in Florida?

The cost of a contested divorce in Florida will depend on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of the issues that need to be resolved
  • Whether you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on certain issues
  • How long it takes to prepare for trial
  • How long it takes to complete the trial itself
  • The attorney fees

Generally speaking, contested divorces cost more than uncontested divorces. This is because contested divorces take longer to resolve and often require more time and effort from your attorney. In Florida, it is not uncommon for a contested divorce to cost several thousand dollars or more.

What Is the Difference Between Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce?

The main difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce is whether you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on certain issues. These issues can include:

  • Property division
  • Child custody
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Debt division

In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement on all or most of these issues. You will then submit your agreement to the court, and the court will grant your divorce and approve your agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on certain issues, your divorce will proceed to litigation. A judge will then decide how to resolve these issues based on the evidence presented at trial.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer for a Contested Divorce?

In Florida, you are not required to have a lawyer to get a divorce. However, it is highly recommended that you retain a lawyer if you are going through a contested divorce. This is because contested divorces are highly complex and often require a great deal of time and effort to resolve.

A lawyer can help you with a contested divorce in several ways, including by:

  • Filing the necessary paperwork to begin the divorce process
  • Explaining your rights and options to you
  • Helping you gather evidence to support your case
  • Negotiating with your spouse and his or her attorney
  • Representing you in court

At Barnett | Gill, we have over 30 years of legal experience. We can help you navigate the complexities of the contested divorce process and will fight to protect your rights and best interests at every stage of your case.


To speak to one of our Brandon contested divorce attorneys, please contact us online or call (813) 305-0353 to schedule a consultation.


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