Contested Divorce

Florida Family Law Attorney

Contested Divorce

North Miami Beach divorce lawyer Michael Lechtman has a solid reputation for excellence in family law. For over 39 years, he has fought for the interests of clients in contested divorce proceedings, narrowly tailoring legal strategies to fit individual needs. At the law office of Michael Lechtman, our goal is to help you put the past behind you so that you can focus on your goals after your divorce is final. Mr. Lechtman represents clients throughout Miami Beach, Aventura, North Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County.

Contested Issues

Under Section 61.043 of the Florida Statutes, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage begins with the filing of a divorce petition in court. The petition alleges that the marriage is irretrievably broken and sets forth the terms of requested relief. In a regular dissolution, the spouse then files an answer, including a counter-petition raising additional contested issues. These may involve:

  • Division of property
  • Child custody, support
  • Full financial disclosure
  • Alimony, visitation rights
  • Marital assets and liabilities
  • Shared parental responsibility

Mediation is available to assist parties in reaching an agreement on contested issues in a less adversarial setting. If neither mediation nor other settlement efforts produce a mutually acceptable arrangement, the parties will proceed toward trial. A family law judge will then set a hearing date and render a final judgment on the contested issues.

Division of Property

Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes requires the “equitable distribution” of marital assets and liabilities between the parties. This property is distinguished from “separate” property not acquired during marriage and therefore awarded to only one party. “Equitable” does not mean “equal” division of property, but what is “fair” based on a variety of factors. These include:

  • Each party’s economic standing
  • Classification of assets, debts
  • Mortgage, debt, bankruptcy
  • Value of business interests
  • Contribution to marriage
  • Real property, vehicles
  • Cash, stocks or bonds
  • Retirement benefits

The court decides the equitable distribution of property before considering alimony. Spousal support may be granted to either party on a temporary or permanent basis. Although Florida is a “no fault” state, the court may consider adultery in determining alimony. The judge must also factor in the length of the marriage, the earning capacity and services rendered by each spouse.

Parental Responsibility

Florida law encourages shared parental duties so that both parents continue to have a presence in the child’s life. This requires sharing both time and decision making authority for major life issues. Courts devise a parenting plan based on the child’s best interests. Parents must also complete a parenting course before the divorce becomes final.

Child Support

Parents have a duty to support their children and make timely support payments as determined by the court. Support will depend upon the parents’ income, the number of children, and time-sharing. This amount may later be modified by a court order.

Divorce and Appeals

If you facing a contested divorce or feel that your final judgment was incorrect, South Florida divorce attorney Michael Lechtman can assert your rights at trial and upon appeal. Mr. Lechtman has significant experience helping parents make post-divorce modifications and appeals based on property division, spousal and child support. Divorce appeals must be made within 30 days of the final judgment, so it is important to work with an attorney well-versed in Florida divorce law and appeals if you are seeking to challenge a trial court order. In addition to serving clients locally, Mr. Lechtman represents South Florida residents around the world in military divorce proceedings. Call (305) 652-9500 today for a consultation or contact us online.

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