Family Law & Divorce Law Firm
Tallahassee Divorce Lawyer
No one wants a long, messy divorce. While ending a marriage is always an emotional process, a divorce lawyer can make the process both smoother and more efficient.
At Liebenhaut Hesser, we guide our clients through the often frustrating divorce proceeding, with a goal towards serving the best interests of you and your children. Learn more about how we handle Florida divorces below.
Filing a Divorce in Florida
In order to file a divorce in Florida, you must meet the following requirements.
- You or your spouse must live here for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce.
- You must wait at least 20 days after filing before the divorce is final.
Filing a No-Fault Divorce in Florida
All divorces in Florida are no-fault divorces. You will just need to show that there are irreconcilable differences in addition to showing that the marriage has undergone an irretrievable breakdown. In other words, you believe that your marriage is broken to the point that it will never be fixed.
Regardless of whether you or your spouse is to blame for the divorce, having a divorce lawyer will ensure that your needs are met after the separation.
How to File for Divorce in Florida
The actual process of filing for divorce in Florida is relatively simple — the devil is in the details. To file for
divorce, you must do the following:
- Complete a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage and then file it with the court.
- Have your petition and other forms served on your spouse.
- Make a series of financial disclosures.
- Negotiate with your spouse about the terms of your divorce or attend trial.
- Obtain a court order ending your marriage.
If your spouse doesn’t contest the divorce, this might go smoothly and quickly. However, if there are disagreements about your children, marital property, marital debts, or alimony, your divorce might become very complicated. To avoid these issues, it’s typically in your best interest to hire an experienced Florida divorce attorney from the very start. Liebenhaut Hesser guides Tallahassee couples through the difficult process of wrapping up a marriage. Most importantly, we pride ourselves on practical advice and intelligent litigation techniques, as well as client-focused service.
Child Support and Child Custody Disputes
As a parent, your child’s safety and welfare are your top priority. You need a divorce lawyer that values your parent-child relationship as much as you do. At Liebenhaut Hesser, we carefully assess child support and child custody issues — applying Florida’s laws and working to protect your child’s best interests. We also help parents modify child custody and child support arrangements when necessary.
How Child Custody Decisions Are Reached in Florida
Simply speaking, the welfare of the child is the Court’s primary focus during custody disputes. The question then becomes, what are the key factors when they make that determination? Some of the major ones are:
- Which parent is more likely to take care of the daily needs of the child? This can include physical, monetary, emotional, and educational needs.
- Which parent is more likely to provide the child with both a stable and nurturing environment?
- Which parent will be more open to allowing the other parent visitation?
On top of that, the court can sometimes consider other factors such as:
- What is the child’s preference?
- Will a move to a new home affect their schooling?
One last thing to bear in mind is that the court will take a history of drug or alcohol abuse very seriously when making a determination. Parents that have drug or alcohol issues will need to prove to the court that they are capable of taking on the responsibility of even being with their child, let alone raising them. This also applies to criminal convictions and child abuse.
A child custody lawyer can help you through the process of making difficult decisions that will affect your children and advocate on your behalf if the need arises.
Establishing Visitation Rights
Generally, courts are of the opinion that children should have a relationship with both parents. However, there are several scenarios where the court may find that not to be in the children’s best interest, including, but not limited to, if one of the parents has a history of abuse, has a drug or alcohol problem, or can otherwise be shown to be engaged in criminal activity. But, even here (with some exceptions) the courts may provide a parent with a means to earn visitation rights.
With the help of your divorce lawyer, most cases can be resolved amicably, but when they can’t, you’ll need a divorce lawyer who will advocate for your right to spend time with your children.
If you are concerned that your spouse may try to block your visitation, Liebenhaut Hesser child custody lawyers can help you defend your right to see your child or rehabilitate your image in the eyes of the court.
Denying Visitation to an Unfit Parent
Sometimes, the other parent of your children isn’t the person you thought they were. When a parent is verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive to either you or the children, it may be appropriate to deny them access to the children entirely.
If you suspect the other parent of being abusive, then you need to ensure that the court is made aware of this. A divorce lawyer can ensure that you provide the court with the evidence it needs to deprive the abusive parent of visitation rights.
After parenting issues, the splitting of a couple’s marital property is typically the most contentious issue in a divorce. Florida courts will divide your property equitably (or fairly). This doesn’t mean that you and your spouse will split your assets 50/50. Instead, you must assess a variety of factors, including:
- The length of your marriage
- Each spouse’s financial stability
- Whether one spouse gave up a career or education to care for the home and children
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
However, if you and your spouse have a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, its terms will likely determine how you divide your property.
A divorce lawyer can help you value your marital property, protect your assets, and assess the validity of a nuptial agreement. To speak with a detail-oriented and experienced divorce lawyer, schedule a consultation with Liebenhaut Hesser.
Alimony and Spousal Support
Under certain circumstances, a spouse can receive alimony payments from their ex. Florida divorce law permits multiple types of alimony, including permanent spousal support. However, the majority of alimony awards are durational or temporary — giving the spouse time to get job training, return to the workforce, or care for a child. If you and your spouse cannot agree on alimony issues, the judge then will weigh a series of factors to assess your eligibility. And if your circumstances change, you sometimes can modify an alimony award.
Divorce and Alternative Dispute Resolution
At Liebenhaut Hesser, our goal is to wrap up our clients’ marriages, quickly, creatively, and as privately as possible. For this reason, we recommend attending alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation) towards the beginning of the case to many of our clients. During mediation, you, your spouse, and your divorce lawyer will discuss the terms of your divorce with guidance from a trained, neutral expert.
While mediation isn’t for everyone, it is mandatory in all Florida divorce cases; unless the parties come to an agreement before attending it. It is often a great tool because it can help reduce the time and expense of a divorce. Moreover, if you can come to an agreement with your spouse at mediation, you can avoid a public divorce hearing. Contact a divorce lawyer at our office to learn more about alternative dispute resolution and how it could help you streamline your divorce.
A midway option between mediated and litigated divorce is something known as collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce is still an adversarial process, and each spouse has a divorce lawyer who advocates on their behalf, but each party signs a written contract to proceed in good faith and attempt to come to an amicable resolution for all parties.
If you’re not comfortable with mediation, but don’t want to go through the adversarial process of litigation, collaborative divorce may be the right choice for you. A divorce lawyer can help you weigh your options and then determine what your best course of action is.
We Build Creative and Thoughtful Divorce Solutions
Unfortunately, negotiation and mediation aren’t always successful. In those situations, Liebenhaut Hesser works with its clients to craft aggressive, forward-thinking, and creative litigation strategies. We listen to our clients’ stories, investigate their claims thoroughly, and advocate tirelessly on their behalves. We know that ending a marriage is difficult and that compassionate service and well-built legal claims can help reduce the stress and anxiety you experience.
A divorce lawyer can also help you keep everything in perspective. It’s easy to let emotions take over during a divorce. However, you might make decisions that you regret later on — especially if your relationship with your children or other loved ones is impacted. We help our clients think clearly and practically — keeping your long-term goals and welfare at the front of our minds.
Consult With a Tallahassee Divorce Lawyer
If you’re ready to speak with a Tallahassee divorce lawyer, contact Liebenhaut Hesser for a no-risk consultation. Our attorneys are not only experienced litigators — they’re also compassionate, thoughtful, and creative. We look forward to meeting with you and working towards a brighter future together.
Family Law Questions?
READ WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY:
“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FAMILY LAW.”
“Mr. Liebenhaut handled my family law case with the utmost professionalism. He was always responsive, personable, and empathetic. During pre-trial, Mr. Liebenhaut ensured that I was as prepared as possible. He poured through hundreds of pages of subpoenaed documents and picked out the “gems” for trial. His lines of questioning were methodical, and he laid out a storyline for the judge that led to a seemingly obvious conclusion. In addition to working directly with him, his staff was always courteous and flexible. From intake conference to post-trial follow-ups, Mr. Liebenhaut found a way to make a not-so-pleasant experience much easier. The outcome from my case was beyond what I’d hoped for. The best quality: Mr. Liebenhaut was always trustworthy and had a way of putting my mind at ease because he was on the case.”
“ONE WORD… SUPERB.”
Matt and his team were consummate professionals with genuine care for me and my family. I’m so appreciative of the time and detail provided to my unique case. Every call was answered in a timely manner with an answer. I was educated about the process and don’t believe I could have found a better advocate. Thank you, Matt and Team.”
“VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PROFESSIONAL.”
“I came to Mr. Liebenhaut a very distraught and defeated client. I put my case in his hands from the initial consultation and I immediately felt confident that I hired the right attorney for me. He proved to be very knowledgeable and professional. When it comes to caring about his clients, none could be better. He and his firm kept me informed of any and all changes or events affecting my case. My case outcome was more than I could have hoped for and I never felt like I was just another case. I hope I never need an attorney in the near future but if I do, I will surely hire Mr. Liebenhaut or seek his recommendations.”
I’ve spent several years dealing with a very bad situation of a manipulative ex. Matt stepped in and remained focused, undeterred, and got things done. I am so extremely grateful to him and his team. I would recommend him for sure especially if you feel helpless and backed into a corner. It was past time for results, as a parent my child is my absolute main priority and someone’s we need some help.”
We Will Handle Your Case With Care and Attention to Detail
Divorce is a complicated process that has an emotional as well as a financial impact on a family. Both parties should handle a divorce with care and attention to detail. The implications can be lifelong. There are numerous factors to be addressed, including the division of marital property, developing a parenting plan (child custody arrangement), arranging primary parental responsibilities, and arranging a visitation schedule as necessary, claiming alimony or child support, defending a claim for alimony or child support, and relocating out of the area with a minor child. At Liebenhaut Hesser, we guide our clients through the process in order to ease some of the difficulties that come with divorce. We will protect your rights, as well as work hard to achieve your goals in negotiation or in the courtroom.
What Should You Look for in a Family Law Attorney?
When selecting a family law attorney in Tallahassee or the surrounding areas consider the treatment you receive when you call their office. Does it appear to be an organized practice? Does the divorce attorney have a dedicated family law staff to assist him or her with your case? Is there more than one attorney available to assist if the divorce attorney you want to meet is unavailable? When you meet with a divorce attorney, don’t be shy to ask them about their experience with the particular issues in your case, the venue in which the case is pending, or even the attorney on the other side. Above all, you want to know you are dealing with someone who has the right experience to handle your case. But, also ask yourself if the divorce attorney and staff leave you feeling comfortable, whether they’re qualified to advise on your case.
Generally, you will be dealing with them a lot and in potentially stressful situations. It is important you feel comfortable communicating with them freely. In fact, we think it is important for you to get a good feel for both your divorce attorney and his or her staff. These are the people who will be representing your interests and standing by your side through potentially difficult times.
About Matt Liebenhaut
Matt is a proud husband and father of three boys. He attended the Florida State University where he graduated magna cum laude and then went on to attend the Florida State University College of Law. In Law School, he was Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court as well as a member of the school’s Mock Trial Team. For six years running, Florida Super Lawyers Magazine has designated Matt as “Rising Star”. He maintains an AV-Preeminent Peer-Review rating through Martindale Hubbell.
About Bryan Hesser
Bryan was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He attended the University of Florida, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management and Minors in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. He went on to attend Florida International University College of Law, where he graduated with the Law Merit Scholarship, on the Dean’s List, and as a Certified Florida County Court Mediator. During Law School, Bryan interned for the Honorable Judge Abby Cynamon in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, and clerked for multiple South Florida family law firms. In 2016, Bryan moved to Tallahassee and continued his legal career with Liebenhaut Law. In 2020, Bryan became a Partner with the firm.
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divorce attorneys in Tallahassee
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