The end of a marriage is painful, challenging, and full of questions—but it’s also an opportunity for personal growth and change. While you likely did not come to this decision without plenty of introspection and tears, now that you’ve decided to move forward, it’s important to do so in a thoughtful and dignified way that protects your rights.
That is how Darla K. Snead approaches every single divorce case she handles. She understands the complicated and painful emotions at play, and she knows that getting through this time is much easier with the right support. No matter what the circumstances of your divorce are or what your priorities are as you leave your marriage, she’ll work tirelessly to help you create the fresh new start you deserve. To discuss your case with a top divorce lawyer in Lakeland, contact Darla K. Snead, P.L. Accepting cases in Polk, Hardee, Highlands, and Hillsborough Counties.
As you begin the process of filing for divorce, you will need to think about which type of dissolution is most suitable for your situation. There are three options to consider:
You may think that a contested divorce trial is your only option if you have a spouse who is unwilling to compromise. However, this is a very risky choice, as it involves putting every major decision related to your divorce in the hands of a judge. Before you get to that point—and preferably as soon as possible—hire an experienced divorce attorney in Lakeland, FL. When both sides have their own legal representation, it is generally easier to reach an agreement that does not put your future in a judge’s control.
Divorce does not have to be about screaming matches and passive-aggressive snipes, but it will be emotionally challenging and mentally tiring. When you meet with your divorce lawyer, being honest about what you want from the divorce and what you expect from your ex-partner will make it much easier to plan for the journey ahead. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you may find that asset division is the hardest issue to discuss without fighting. For couples with minor children, issues of custody/timesharing and child support are among the most explosive. Keep reading to learn more about the issues that commonly arise during divorce negotiations.
The process of dividing assets is complex; it’s generally not as easy as giving each spouse half of everything accumulated in the marriage. Generally, Florida judges begin by assuming that each party deserves half of all accumulated assets. From there, they adjust to account for each party’s earning abilities, income, contributions made in the marriage, and future employment prospects, among other considerations. By considering these factors, the judge attempts to distribute assets in an equitable manner.
This may mean that the person who earned the most money during the marriage does not actually keep most of the money. Contributions to a marriage aren’t simply financial or material in nature. The court also considers a spouse’s homemaking and childrearing contributions.
If debt was accumulated during the marriage, this must also be divided in a fair manner. Again, the judge will weigh each party’s income, job prospects, and other factors. Secured debt is often influenced by who keeps the asset tied to the debt. If one party stays in the marital home, they will also be required to pay the debt on the home, this may require that person to refinance the home and obtain a mortgage in only that person’s name. A Judge can also order that the home be sold and the proceeds split between the parties.
If you have minor children, timesharing is probably one of your top priorities when you consult with a top family lawyer in Lakeland. The thought of losing time with your children may put you into fight-or-flight mode, which can aggravate already strained relations with your ex-partner. It’s important to realize that you both want what is best for your children and that you can work together to accomplish it. Of course, we know that this isn’t always the case. There will always be individuals who are more focused on hurting their soon-to-be-ex-spouse than making decisions that protect their children. Regardless of how your ex-partner approaches these issues, we will be on your side to fight for what you and your children deserve.
As a general rule, the court begins with the assumption that both parents should be very involved in raising the children. Children fare well when they get meaningful periods of time with each parent, rather than spending most or all of their time with one. From this starting point, the judge will make adjustments to account for factors like:
Timesharing influences child support decisions. Child support is provided for the benefit of the child, and the child is entitled to that money regardless of their parents’ choices. Child support is awarded based on how a child’s time is split, how much each party earns, any unusual expenses required for the child’s care, and each parent’s ability to work.
Looking at the road ahead of you, you undoubtedly have questions, concerns, and worries. Choosing a top divorce lawyer in Lakeland is one way to make this process as easy as possible, allowing you to begin the hard emotional work of healing and planning for the next stage of your life.
Many people wonder if they truly need a divorce attorney, especially if their ex-partner agrees with them on important topics like custody and division of assets. Even if the divorce is amicable, it is highly recommended that both parties have their own representation. This ensures that neither party unintentionally loses assets or takes on debt they don’t want, and it also ensures that neither party gives away more parenting time than intended. If you are trying to give up more during the divorce process just to keep the peace with an ex-partner, you should discuss your needs with an attorney and find a solution that doesn’t involve hindering your future.
Your attorney will also help you with the massive pile of paperwork that comes with any divorce. Filling out paperwork accurately and promptly is essential since missing deadlines or providing inaccurate information can cause your case to get thrown out, costing you more when you are forced to refile. Remember, during the divorce process, you still have to work, take care of children, and meet other obligations. Working with an attorney takes a substantial amount of divorce stress off of your shoulders.
Darla K. Snead brings empathy and a careful hand to every case she takes on as a divorce attorney. She’ll truly take the time needed to listen to your concerns and goals, then work with you to develop a plan that addresses these needs. Whether you have an uncomplicated and amicable divorce that you simply want to go as quickly as possible or a contested divorce that is likely to take months to resolve, turn to Darla K. Snead. With more than 23 years of experience as a lawyer, she has seen every type of divorce you can imagine. Her broad body of experience puts her in a position to negotiate these matters expertly and preserve the co-parenting relationship between you and your ex-partner. If you’re ready to get started, call our office or get in touch online. We look forward to standing with you during this challenging time.