Florida Contested Divorce Lawyer

Resolving Issues of Your Divorce Through Court Action

Contested Divorce often involves disagreement on division of marital property and support, or a disagreement on the issue of parental responsibility and time-sharing.


Contested divorce case means that you and the other parent or party have not reached an agreement on all issues of your divorce or paternity case.  Attorney Christophe Fiori represents men and women in divorce and paternity matters before Florida family courts, where parties  disagree on some or all issues of their case.  


While a mutually agreed outcome is favored, parties are sometimes unable to resolve all issues, and court action is required.


Tampa divorce lawyer Christophe Fiori employs a client based approach when working with men and women going through the legal process of a divorce, which means that he will spend the time to thoroughly understand the facts in your case to provide you with comprehensive and realistic legal evaluation.


Christophe Fiori has gained vast courtroom experience offering legal representation throughout central Florida in divorce, paternity, and injunction cases.  The cornerstone of Christophe Fiori's practice is to provide professional and compassionate legal representation, while keeping legal fees reasonable and affordable.


Either through the court action or Mediation, Christophe Fiori's goal is to work toward a fair resolution of your concerns, while avoiding the unnecessary public exposure of private issues.


Speak with an experienced family law attorney for a free consultation to discuss your case in a confidential and professional setting.  Call (888) 384-2872 or Request a free Consultation

Filing for Divorce 


Served with Divorce Papers?


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Florida Uncontested Agreed Divorce Lawyer

Uncontested 'Agreed' Divorce

If you and your spouse agree on all outstanding issues in your divorce, then your divorce is considered uncontested.  You may be eligible for an attorney flat-fee for uncontested divorce.  


Florida dissolution of marriage laws are designed to promote amicable settlement of disputes that arise between the parties to a marriage and to lessen the potential harm to the spouses and their children caused by the process of the legal dissolution of marriage.


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Filing for Divorce in Florida

The First Step to Beginning the Process of Divorce is to File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

If you are the party who initiates the Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage process, you are the Petitioner. If you have been served with divorce papers, you are called the Respondent.


You may obtain a divorce in Florida if you have established residency in Florida.  Generally, you may file for divorce in the county in which you reside in, or the county in which the marital home or other marital real property is located.

After the Filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is Filed in Florida Court

After receiving service of the petition for dissolution of marriage, the respondent has twenty (20) days to file an Answer to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.


If no Answer to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the Court may enter a default against the respondent.

After Answering a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

After an Answer is filed by the Respondent, both spouses are required by law to exchange certain documents and information which are used to prepare for trial and to assist the court in judging certain aspects of the case, including parental responsibility and time-sharing, child support, alimony and equitable division of marital assets and liabilities.  


Attendance and completion of a parenting class is required of both parties in a family law case involving minor or dependent children.  


Once all required documents and papers have been filed, the case is ready to be set for trial. A trial may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks depending upon the amount of evidence that is presented and the complexity of the issues involved.


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Mandatory Disclosure of Financial Documents

Florida Family Law Rule 12.285

Florida family law requires both parties involved in a family court proceeding to disclose certain financial information to the other party, or his or her counsel.


This rule applies to dissolution of marriage or paternity actions; or for modification of a final judgment.


If you have retained us to represent you in a family law case, contact us as soon as possible to discuss disclosure of financial documents so that no time is wasted.  Remember, the sooner we have these records, the sooner we can begin the process of obtaining temporary relief or defending against such a request.

Preparing Your Disclosure of Financial Documents

Please provide our office with all of the documents listed below within seven days after you sign your employment agreement with our office.


This is necessary for two reasons.  First, we cannot set a temporary relief hearing without having these documents to provide to your spouse or his/her attorney.  This is by rule of the Florida Supreme Court and there can be no exceptions (Florida Family Rule 12.285).


Secondly, we will need these documents to prepare a proposal for settlement or to prepare for a hearing on temporary relief issues.


Additionally, within forty-five days of serving the initial pleading (petition for dissolution of marriage), the court requires additional financial disclosures.


While 45 days may sound like a considerable period of time to gather this information, please be advised that because of the time needed for our office to review the documents and process the accompanying statements required from your attorney, you must allow us at least a two week period which will be subtracted from the deadlines above.  Therefore, please start gathering the required documents immediately.


Should you have any questions regarding any of the required documents, please contact us as soon as possible so that no time is wasted.


Remember, the sooner we have these records, the sooner we can begin the process of obtaining temporary relief or defending against such a request.


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Mandatory Disclosure Checklist of Required Documents

Please review the list of documents with your attorney.  Not all documents may be applicable to your case.

Checklist of Documents

  1. Your federal income tax returns for the past three years.
  2. Records reflecting gross income and net income you have received either directly or indirectly for the current year and the past three years, including all pay stubs.
  3. Any financial statements prepared within the past five years.
  4. All savings account books and/or account statements for the current year.
  5. All records for the current year and the past two years with regard to any checking account.
  6. All certificates of deposit in your name individually or jointly.
  7. All stock certificates in your name individually or jointly.
  8. Any notes or other securities in your name individually or jointly for the current year and the past three years.
  9. All records in regard to any security account in your name individually or jointly for the current year and the past three years.
  10. All records in regard to any current outstanding obligations on which you are individually or jointly liable.
  11. A complete financial affidavit as required by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure in this action.
  12. All cashier’s checks, money orders and/or certified checks in your name individually or jointly.
  13. All life insurance, health insurance, medical insurance, hospitalization and/or supplemental health policies in your name individually or jointly.
  14. The legal description of all real property in which you have had an interest during the past three years.
  15. All bank books, check books, check stubs and/or bank statements relating to any savings or checking accounts for any business in which you have had an interest for the past three years.
  16. All motor vehicle and/or vessel titles, registrations and/or other documents related to ownership in your name alone or with any other person for the past three years.
  17. Any stock books and stock transfer ledgers for any corporation in which you have been an officer, director and/or stockholder during the current year or past three years.
  18. All credit cards and credit card records showing charges made for the current year and the past calendar year.
  19. Records on all charge accounts in your name alone or jointly with anyone else.
  20. All records pertaining to any pension fund, profit-sharing plan or other fringe benefits that you have through your employer or former employer.
  21. All records regarding any real property either owned, leased or placed in someone else’s name, whether individually or jointly during the last five years, including any real property in which you were involved in the purchase in any way.
  22. All records and other documents of any appraisals and/or evaluations of any of the above real property, including any appraisals done for ad valorem tax purposes by any governmental body.
  23. All records of any persons (including but not limited to detectives) who had your spouse or any other person who is or might be involved in this lawsuit under surveillance at any time during the marriage.
  24. All records regarding any deferred income, deferred salary and/or deferred commissions.
  25. Copies of estimated quarterly income tax statements for the last two years.
  26. Personal property tax returns (intangible) for the last three years.
  27. Personal property tax returns (tangible) for the last three years.
  28. All records, inventories, appraisals and/or any other documents valuing any collections, including but not limited to: coins, stamps, art and gem collections.
  29. The most recent real estate tax notices indicating the assessed values for tax purposes of all real property that you own individually or jointly, or that is under your control.
  30. All records pertaining to any Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or self-employed IRA.
  31. All records pertaining to any inheritance expectation, including but not limited to, documents pertaining to any will instrument for which you were or are a beneficiary.


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Florida Family Law Rule 12.285

Rule 12.285

(a) Application.

(1) Scope. This rule shall apply to all proceedings within the scope of these rules except proceedings involving adoption, simplified dissolution, enforcement, contempt, injunctions for domestic or repeat violence, and uncontested dissolutions when the respondent is served by publication and does not file an answer. Additionally, no financial affidavit or other documents shall be required under this rule from a party seeking attorneys' fees, suit money, or costs, if the basis for the request is solely under section 57.105, Florida Statutes, or any successor statute. Except for the provisions as to financial affidavits and child support guidelines worksheets, any portion of this rule may be modified by order of the court or agreement of the parties.

(2) Original and Duplicate Copies. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court, copies of documents required under this rule may be produced in lieu of originals. Originals, when available, shall be produced for inspection upon request. Parties shall not be required to serve duplicates of documents previously served.

(b) Time for Production of Documents.

(1) Temporary Financial Hearings. Any document required under this rule in any temporary financial relief proceeding shall be served on the other party for inspection and copying as follows.

(A) The party seeking relief shall serve the required documents on the other party with the notice of temporary financial hearing, unless the documents have been served under subdivision (b)(2) of this rule.

(B) The responding party shall serve the required documents on the party seeking relief on or before 5:00 p.m., 2 business days before the day of the temporary financial hearing if served by delivery or 7 days before the day of the temporary financial hearing if served by mail, unless the documents have been received previously by the party seeking relief under subdivision (b)(2) of this rule. A responding party shall be given no less than 12 days to serve the documents required under this rule, unless otherwise ordered by the court. If the 45-day period for exchange of documents provided for in subdivision (b)(2) of this rule will occur before the expiration of the 12 days, the provisions of subdivision (b)(2) control.

(2) Initial and Supplemental Proceedings. Any document required under this rule for any initial or supplemental proceeding shall be served on the other party for inspection and copying within 45 days of service of the initial pleading on the respondent.

(c) Disclosure Requirements for Temporary Financial Relief. In any proceeding for temporary financial relief heard within 45 days of the service of the initial pleading or within any extension of the time for complying with mandatory disclosure granted by the court or agreed to by the parties, the following documents shall be served on the other party:

(1) A financial affidavit in substantial conformity with Family Law Form 12.901(d) if the party's gross annual income is less than $50,000, or Family Law Form 12.901(e) if the party's gross annual income is equal to or more than $50,000. This requirement cannot be waived by the parties. The affidavit must also must be filed with the court.

(2) All federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns filed by the party or on the party's behalf for the past year. A party may file a transcript of the tax return as provided by Internal Revenue Service Form 4506 in lieu of his or her individual federal income tax return for purposes of a temporary hearing.

(3) IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for the past year, if the income tax return for that year has not been prepared.

(4) Pay stubs or other evidence of earned income for the 3 months prior to service of the financial affidavit.

(d) Parties' Disclosure Requirements for Initial or Supplement Proceedings. A party shall serve the following documents in any proceeding for an initial or supplemental request for permanent financial relief, including, but not limited to, a request for child support, alimony, equitable distribution of assets or debts, or attorneys' fees, suit money, or costs:

(1) A financial affidavit in substantial conformity with Family Law Form 12.901(d) if the party's gross annual income is less than $50,000, or Family Law Form 12.901(e) if the party's gross annual income is equal to or more than $50,000, which requirement cannot be waived by the parties. The financial affidavits also must be filed with the court. A party may request, by using the Standard Family Law Interrogatories, or the court on its own motion may order, a party whose gross annual income is less than $50,000 to complete Family Law Form 12.901(e).

(2) All federal and state income tax returns, gift tax returns, and intangible personal property tax returns filed by the party or on the party's behalf for the past 3 years.

(3) IRS forms W-2, 1099, and K-1 for the past year, if the income tax return for that year has not been prepared.

(4) Pay stubs or other evidence of earned income for the 3 months prior to service of the financial affidavit.

(5) A statement by the producing party identifying the amount and source of all income received from any source during the 3 months preceding the service of the financial affidavit required by this rule if not reflected on the pay stubs produced.

(6) All loan applications and financial statements prepared or used within the 12 months preceding service of that party's financial affidavit required by this rule, whether for the purpose of obtaining or attempting to obtain credit or for any other purpose.

(7) All deeds within the last 3 years, all promissory notes within the last 12 months, and all present leases, in which the party owns or owned an interest, whether held in the party's name individually, in the party's name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party's name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else's name on the party's behalf.

(8) All periodic statements from the last 3 months for all checking accounts, and from the last 12 months for all other accounts (for example, savings accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, etc.), regardless of whether or not the account has been closed, including those held in the party's name individually, in the party's name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party's name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else's name on the party's behalf.

(9) All brokerage account statements in which either party to this action held within the last 12 months or holds an interest including those held in the party's name individually, in the party's name jointly with any person or entity, in the party's name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else's name on the party's behalf.

(10) The most recent statement for any profit sharing, retirement, deferred compensation, or pension plan (for example, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP, KEOGH, or other similar account) in which the party is a participant or alternate payee and the summary plan description for any retirement, profit sharing, or pension plan in which the party is a participant or an alternate payee. (The summary plan description must be furnished to the party on request by the plan administrator as required by 29 U.S.C. § 1024(b)(4).)

(11) The declarations page, the last periodic statement, and the certificate for all life insurance policies insuring the party's life or the life of the party's spouse, whether group insurance or otherwise, and all current health and dental insurance cards covering either of the parties and/or their dependent children.

(12) Corporate, partnership, and trust tax returns for the last 3 tax years if the party has an ownership or interest in a corporation, partnership, or trust greater than or equal to 30%.

(13) All promissory notes for the last 12 months, all credit card and charge account statements and other records showing the party's indebtedness as of the date of the filing of this action and for the last 3 months, and all present lease agreements, whether owed in the party's name individually, in the party's name jointly with any other person or entity, in the party's name as trustee or guardian for any other person, or in someone else's name on the party's behalf.

(14) All written premarital or marital agreements entered into at any time between the parties to this marriage, whether before or during the marriage. Additionally, in any modification proceeding, each party shall serve on the opposing party all written agreements entered into between them at any time since the order to be modified was entered.

(15) All documents and tangible evidence supporting the producing party's claim of special equity or nonmarital status of an asset or debt for the time period from the date of acquisition of the asset or debt to the date of production or from the date of marriage, if based on premarital acquisition.

(16) Any court orders directing a party to pay or receive spousal or child support.

(e) Duty to Supplement Disclosure; Amended Financial Affidavit.

(1) Parties have a continuing duty to supplement documents described in this rule, including financial affidavits, whenever a material change in their financial status occurs.

(2) If an amended financial affidavit or an amendment to a financial affidavit is filed, the amending party also shall serve any subsequently discovered or acquired documents supporting the amendments to the financial affidavit.

(f) Sanctions. Any document to be produced under this rule that is served on the opposing party fewer than 24 hours before a nonfinal hearing or in violation of the court's pretrial order shall not be admissible in evidence at that hearing unless the court finds good cause for the delay. In addition, the court may impose other sanctions authorized by rule 12.380 as may be equitable under the circumstances. The court may also impose sanctions upon the offending lawyer in lieu of imposing sanctions on a party.

(g) Extensions of Time for Complying with Mandatory Disclosure. By agreement of the parties, the time for complying with mandatory disclosure may be extended. Either party also may file, at least 5 days before the due date, a motion to enlarge the time for complying with mandatory disclosure. The court shall grant the request for good cause shown.

(h) Objections to Mandatory Automatic Disclosure. Objections to the mandatory automatic disclosure required by this rule shall be served in writing at least 5 days prior to the due date for the disclosure or the objections shall be deemed waived. The filing of a timely objection, with a notice of hearing on the objection, automatically stays mandatory disclosure for those matters within the scope of the objection. For good cause shown, the court may extend the time for the filing of an objection or permit the filing of an otherwise untimely objection. The court shall impose sanctions for the filing of meritless or frivolous objections.

(i) Certificate of Compliance. All parties subject to automatic mandatory disclosure shall file with the court a certificate of compliance, Florida Family Law Form 12.932, identifying with particularity the documents which have been delivered and certifying the date of service of the financial affidavit and documents by that party.

(j) Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. If the case involves child support, the parties shall file with the court at or prior to a hearing to establish or modify child support a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet in substantial conformity with Florida Family Law Form 12.901(g). This requirement cannot be waived by the parties.

(k) Place of Production.

(1) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court, all production required by this rule shall take place in the county where the action is pending and in the office of the attorney for the party receiving production. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties or ordered by the court, if a party does not have an attorney or if the attorney does not have an office in the county where the action is pending, production shall take place in the county where the action is pending at a place designated in writing by the party receiving production, served at least 5 days before the due date for production.

(2) If venue is contested, on motion by a party the court shall designate the place where production will occur pending determination of the venue issue.

(kl) Failure of Defaulted Party to Comply. Nothing in this rule shall be deemed to preclude the entry of a final judgment when a party in default has failed to comply with this rule.

Commentary

1995 Adoption. This rule creates a procedure for automatic financial disclosure in family law cases. By requiring production at an early stage in the proceedings, it is hoped that the expense of litigation will be minimized. See Dralus v. Dralus, 627 So. 2d 505 (Fla. 2d DCA 1993); Wrona v. Wrona, 592 So. 2d 694 (Fla. 2d DCA 1991); and Katz v. Katz, 505 So. 2d 25 (Fla. 4th DCA 1987). A limited number of requirements have been placed upon parties making and spending less than $50,000 annually unless otherwise ordered by the court. In cases where the income or expenses of a party are equal to or exceed $50,000 annually, the requirements are much greater. Except for the provisions as to financial affidavits, other than as set forth in subdivision (k), any portion of this rule may be modified by agreement of the parties or by order of the court. For instance, upon the request of any party or on the court's own motion, the court may order that the parties to the proceeding comply with some or all of the automatic mandatory disclosure provisions of this rule even though the parties do not meet the income requirements set forth in subdivision (d). Additionally, the court may, on the motion of a party or on its own motion, limit the disclosure requirements in this rule should it find good cause for doing So.

Committee Notes

1998 Amendment. If one party has not provided necessary financial information for the other party to complete a child support guidelines worksheet, a good faith estimate should be made.

1997 Amendment. Except for the form of financial affidavit used, mandatory disclosure is made the same for all parties subject to the rule, regardless of income. The amount of information required to be disclosed is increased for parties in the under-$50,000 category and decreased for parties in the $50,000-or-over category. The standard family law interrogatories are no longer mandatory, and their answers are designed to be supplemental and not duplicative of information contained in the financial affidavits. 


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