The first step in the process of divorce is obvious (or at least it should be). The first step is to go to a lawyer experienced in family law to learn your rights and responsibilities in accordance with Florida law.
However, before even the first step is taken, it is best to collect the relevant financial documentation so that your meeting with the attorney will be more productive. The basic documents you should bring are:
- Personal Federal Tax Returns for the last 2-3 years;
- Any corporate Tax Returns for the last 2-3 years;
- The most recent statements from any bank account or financial accounts;
- The most recent statements from any retirement accounts; and
- Any deeds to real estate owned by either party.
During the meeting with your attorney, you will learn that once the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, the process then moves forward, albeit slowly, through discovery of the finances and temporary support (if necessary). During the process, the attorneys can reach agreements without the necessity of court intervention.
As a final note, it is highly recommended that each of the parties to the divorce proceeding, as well as each child, go to at least one counseling session. Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is very traumatic for all involved. A good therapist can create a lot of awareness on the part of each party about how to deal with the emotional issues in a manner that is less toxic to the parties and their children.