If you are a Florida resident considering divorce, you probably have many questions. Here are some important answers.

Do I Need an Attorney?

Technically, no. The Florida judicial system has all the forms you need online. If you and your spouse fill out the forms thoroughly and follow the procedures, you may be able to end your marriage with no outside assistance. This works best if you agree on the terms of the split. The do-it-yourself divorce does not work so well if you disagree on child custody, financial support or property division issues. Disputes mean you may be dealing with a contested divorce Tampa, in which case you may want a lawyer to help you deal with the complexities and the stress.

How Long Does it Take?

That depends on many factors. An uncontested split may take as little as a month or as long as a year, depending how busy the courts are. Each area of dispute can add weeks or months to the timeline. Mediation is generally quicker than litigation, but resolving conflict always takes time.

How Much Does it Cost?

Costs vary widely. Marriage dissolution forms are provided free of charge, but you need to pay filing fees. If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce and plan to do your own paperwork, you may be able to spend less than $500. However, divorce is a major life decision, and the terms of your split can affect your life for years to come. You may want to invest in legal advice to help protect yourself and your future.

How Can I Make This Easier on the Kids?

Most counselors agree that divorcing couples should shield the kids from conflict as best they can. Do not argue in front of the children. Try to disrupt their lives as little as possible. Kids should participate in their usual activities and daily routines. Present the visitation schedule to children with firmness and optimism. Be honest and offer age-appropriate answers to their questions. Listen often, and reassure them that they are loved by you both.