No law firm is more dedicated or values family more than Ansley Law Firm.
Our team believes strongly in resolving family legal matters in Florida in the best possible manner. We believe resolving all legal matters effectively will allow all parties involved to move on and live their lives as they see fit.
We currently focus our Family Law Practices in several areas. Click on any of the family lawyer services below to learn more:
Family Law can be complex and have long lasting effects on you and your family.
It is recommended that you take the time to properly prepare yourself for the long road ahead by following our Step by Step approach to planning family-based adjudication or arbitration.
Step 1: Understanding Your Case
Thoroughly understand your legal matter as well as the legal “terms” associated with your family legal matter. Many of them might be unfamiliar to you and understanding these terms are of the utmost importance. You can review our Family Legal Terms Glossary to learn more.
Step 2: Prepare to Meet with a Family Lawyer
Preparation for your meeting with a family law attorney is one of the most important components to a successful outcome. There is a long list of documents you should prepare prior to this meeting and bring with you as your attorney will ask to see these documents when meeting for the first time. You can review our Documents Needed for Family Law Cases to learn more.
When providing this information you give the attorney the opportunity to properly advise you and review your case. In addition to the noted documents it is also wise to begin keeping a journal or notebook of events throughout the course of your legal matter. You may need to recount events at a later date and this written record will help assist you.
Step 3: Meeting with Your Family Law Attorney
In addition to bringing the list of documents we suggested on our Family Resources page it is important to make a list of questions you wish to ask your attorney. Anxiety about this meeting, or the impending legal proceedings are completely normal, but can also cause you to be less mentally prepared to ask all your important questions as they come up. Making a list ahead of time allows you to focus on the answers rather than the questions.
Step 4: What to Expect During Your Family Legal Matter
A family legal matter is traditionally well structured. There are a number of events which usually will occur during a family law matter and you should familiarize yourself with the following events:
Temporary Hearing: At the temporary hearing, the Judge will make a determination as to whether alimony and child support should be ordered while the case is ongoing. The Judge will also make a determination as to the timesharing schedule with the minor children, if applicable. At the temporary hearing, the Judge may also decide who should have possession of certain assets, including the marital residence, until the case is concluded. Both you and your spouse will be present at the hearing and will provide testimony regarding your case.
Mandatory Disclosures: Both you and your spouse will be required to provide certain documents to each other as part of your case. These documents are those listed in Step 2 above. Florida law requires that you both disclose these documents so everyone is aware of the financial situation of the marriage.
Mediation: Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method. Both parties will be present with your counsel and a third party neutral who will serve as the mediator. The mediator will not make any decisions about your case. Mediation is a place for the parties to negotiate and hopefully amicably resolve their matter without going to trial. In mediation, almost any agreement is allowed, even agreements that a Judge would not be able to order so long as you and your spouse agree to the terms. You meet with the mediator outside the presence of your spouse and mediation is confidential.
Parenting Course: If you have children, the state of Florida requires all parents going through litigation related to the children to attend a parenting class. Recent changes to the law requires that all parents attend a live session of this class. In rare circumstances, the Court can allow you to attend the class online.
Depositions: In the event you are not able to settle at mediation, your deposition is likely to be taken. At the deposition, you are put under oath and asked a series of questions by your spouse’s attorney. A court reporter is present to record all testimony. If you are represented by counsel, your attorney will also be present.
Discovery: Discovery is the process of obtaining information prior to trial. This includes depositions (described above), production of documents, interrogatories (written questions you must answer under oath), third party subpoenas (request for copies of documents from someone other than you or your spouse) and inspections of property.
Final Hearing: The Final Hearing is the trial in a family law matter. At the final hearing, you and your spouse will testify regarding any outstanding issues (alimony, child timesharing, child support, asset division, etc.). You may also need to present other witnesses you have knowledge concerning these issues. The Judge will decide your case and a final judgment will be entered following the final hearing.
Step 5: Conclusion of Your Case, What’s Next?
After your final judgment has been received there are other steps that need to be completed and are related specifically to your particular legal matter. Some common steps would be: sending copies of the judgment to companies or departments that need the information in order to accurately divide the assets or monitor payment of alimony and child support. If your matter requires a name change, you will need to provide the proper documentation to the correct authorities in order to change your identification documentation such as a driver’s license and social security card.
After final judgment it is not uncommon to encounter problems or resistance with your spouse abiding by the terms of the outcome. There are specific legal mechanisms in place that will force compliance from your spouse whether it be by the courts or through law enforcement measures. These vary based on the judgment and the resistance from your spouse.
We at Ansley Law Firm always hope for the best and that you are not forced to face a difficult situation like this after a judgment has been passed down. However, if you are, we will most certainly be with you every step of the way.
We currently serve Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, and Crestview Florida communities. For our Destin Office please call 850-837-3777 to schedule an appointment today. For the Crestview Office please call 850-682-6829. Alternatively, you can Contact Us and fill out our Consultation Request Form and we will get back to you just as soon as it is possible.