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So, How Long Will My Divorce or Paternity Case Take?

if you are the PETITIONER in your action you can expect your case to follow the approximate time frames listed below.

From our retention to completion of the minimum initial documents needed to file your case:

Phase One Initial Filing Packet

Phase One occurs in the first ten days if the COURT COSTS portion of your financial obligation is met: This includes the preparation of the minimum REQUIRED initial pleadings and forms, some of which must be signed by you in the presence of a notary. You will be called to set an appointment in our office to sign these forms.

After you meet with us, we then file your case, obtain a case number, receive a judicial assignment, and the summons is issued for service. Our process server is Caplan Process Serving, which is a very large server with excellent results. They usually can effectuate service in 10 days at most. We must wait for them to do their job. Once they have served the opposition, the clock is set for exactly 20 days for the opposition to respond with an Answer or some type of responsive motion. The case is essentially in paralysis for these 20 days, we are not permitted to request discovery, or have any motions heard, however, we are permitted to provide discovery. As DADvocacy strives to move a case along as quickly as possible, we use this phase to work on the matters needing your input.

During this phase, we prepare and file: Petition. Summons. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act Affidavit. Nonmilitary Affidavit. Notice of Filing Administrative Order 14-13. Required Statistical Information Sheet.

Phase Two Discovery And Parenting Plan

Phase two is occurs when we are fulfilling our obligations to supplement the file with those documents evidencing our compliance with Chaper 61, as relates to parenting plans; Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285 as relates to your financial affidavit and mandatory disclosure documents; and Administrative Orders of the 11th Judicial Circuit as pertains to Parenting Class.

You will meet with an attorney and provide financial documents (i.e. paystubs, bank statements, tax returns) so that we can assist you in completing your financial affidavit. The attorney will also guide you in deciding what you want your parenting plan to look like.

In this phase, we file: Financial Affidavit and Notice of Filing Financial Affidavit; Proposed Parenting Plan; Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure; Parenting Class Certificate of Attendance; and if applicable, Notice of Filing Proposed Child Support Guidelines.

Phase Three Setting And Scheduling

Phase two three is when we move your case into Court or mediation. As mediation is required in this jurisdiction prior to trial, we go to mediation as soon as discovery is done. A few cases are excepted from the mediation obligation. Those with an active Injunction (also known as a restraining order), and those where one party is far away from the jurisdiction (usually further than Palm Beach) are two examples. Getting a Court Order requiring mediation is our first step. We have a policy that we do not attend mediation unless COURT ORDERED. After all, when you are court ordered, so is the opposition. This helps us ensure the opposition appears at mediation and doesn’t “no show” to your inconvenience. More detailed information and instructions will be provided to you regarding mediation as the date nears. For 80% of cases, the case is resolved at mediation. For cases that do not result in an agreement at mediation (called an impasse), we must take a litigation posture, and the advantages, risks, and strategy related to litigating the matter are discussed with you at an in office meeting after the unsuccessful mediation.

In this phase, we file: Request for Order of Referral to Mediation/Request for Status. If mediation is an impasse, we file a Motion for Status/Case Management Conference or a Notice of Readiness for Trial depending on your retainer with our office.

The timeframes listed show the usual tasks and functions of DADvocacy, and this is the only timeframe we can control. The schedules of the Judge and/or magistrate, the mediator and the opposing counsel are not listed as those schedules are unknown. Some judges set more quickly than others, some opposing counsels take vacations that slow movement of a case, some mediators are in high demand and we must wait for them to become available. The tasks and pleadings set forth above are not an exhaustive or complete list, and some cases do not require certain documents (such as cases that exist in more than one judicial division).

It is imperative that you maintain contact with our office. As you can see, it takes a lot of paper and client contact to litigate a family law matter. Your input is necessary and required, and any failures on your end to timely complete your required tasks and disclosures slows our process, invites negative motions from the opposition, which may cause you to incur additional attorney’s fees, or withdrawal of our representation. For further information or to schedule an appointment with one our highly successful divorce lawyers in Miami please contact us at (305) 371-7640!