Tampa Typical Client Questions & Answers in a Tampa Divorce or Family Legal Case

How long does it take to get a divorce in Florida?

Each state has its own requirements for waiting periods between the time you file for divorce and when the dissolution of the marriage by divorce can be granted. For example, waiting periods may differ state to state depending on whether the divorce is fault based or no-fault. Under some circumstances, there may be no waiting period at all. To learn what the waiting period is in your state for your individual situation, you should seek the counsel of an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer to guide you through the process.

Can I represent myself in a divorce proceeding in Florida?

You can represent yourself in a divorce proceeding in Florida, but the complexity of the issues involved make it highly difficult and not recommended for anyone without a legal background. If you do decide to go the "Do It Yourself Divorce" path, then please check with your local family courts because they often have programs designed to assist pro se litigants to get through the procedure of divorce, but they will NOT give legal advice.  You must have a family lawyer or divorce attorney assist you with that. Please also be cautioned that most family lawyers will not assume the liability of trying to fix a big mess a pro se litigant has made for him or herself, so carefully consider the consequences of being unable to find a lawyer to represent you later if you do not do it right the first time. At the very least, get a free consultation with a qualified Tampa divorce attorney before you make that decision.

What can I do if my spouse does not want a divorce and refuses to respond to anything regarding the divorce proceedings?

States differ in whether they will allow a divorce if only one spouse wants it. However, the first thing you must do is to make certain the other spouse either has been properly served with process (has been given formal notice of the filing of the divorce) or has received the petition for divorce and has formally waived service of process. Generally, if your spouse was properly served, he or she does not file an answer, and the return of service has been on file for a specified period of time, then you may ask the judge to grant your divorce through your spouse's default. There are several strict procedures that must be followed, and this is not something that should be done without the guidance of a divorce lawyer or family law attorney in Tampa.

How is property divided in a Florida divorce?

In the vast majority of Florida divorces, the parties are able to reach their own agreements on an equitable division of property. However, sometimes the arguments become too contentious for an agreement, and the court must step in and decide the distribution. Please see the Tampa Divorce Lawyer page for a description of this process in Florida.

I’ve been living with my partner for several years, are we considered married?

Several states follow the practice of common law marriage, where couples have a legal "informal marriage" relationship after co-habitating and holding out as husband and wife. Please see the Tampa Divorce Lawyer page to learn if this practice is accepted in Florida.

How long do I have to live in Florida to file for divorce here?

To file for divorce in Florida one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months immediately preceding filing for divorce.

If I have an informal marriage, do I need to get an official divorce?

There is no common law marriage in Florida, although Florida does recognize common law marriages from other states. If you are asking this question and you live in Florida, you should talk to a family lawyer about your individual circumstances. Read about informal marriages and divorce on the Tampa Divorce Lawyer page.

I’m supposed to pay child support, but I lost my job, can I have my payments reduced?

If you lost your job, you may be eligible to get a modification of the amount of child support you are required to pay if you can prove you have had a change in circumstances. Read more about how to calculate the amount on the Child Support and Medical Support page. There are many factors that go into a judge's decision to allow you to reduce child support in Florida. You can get yourself into trouble fast, with the consequence that failure to pay could land you in jail. It is best to talk with an experienced Tampa child support lawyer as soon as possible!

The Court Clerk for the Family Court is located at:

Clerk of the Circuit Court
George E. Edgecomb Courthouse
1st Floor, Room 101

Family Courts in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida in which a divorce lawyer or family lawyer would file your case:

Judge Cheryl Thomas1
Division "A"
(813) 272-6992

Judge Elizabeth G. Rice
Division "F"

(813) 272-6999

Judge Paul B. Huey
Division "B"

(813) 276-2089

Judge Carolyn J. Tesche
Division "I"

(813) 276-2968

Judge Catherine M. Catlin
Associate Administrative Judge
Division "C"

(813) 272-5777

Child Support Enforcement
Judge Matthew C. Lucas
Division "M"

(813) 272-5353

Judge Tom Barber
Division "D"

(813) 276-2059
Domestic Violence
Judge Richard A. Weiss
Division "N"

(813) 272-5122

Judge Samantha L. Ward
Division "D"

(813) 272-6997

Domestic Violence
Judge Scott A. Farr
Division "H"

(813) 272-7138


A Tampa family lawyer or divorce attorney will help you file your divorce or custody suit in Hillsborough County, Florida.  Call today!

Tampa divorce lawyers serve clients throughout Western Florida, including Bloomingdale, Brandon, Clearwater, Dunedin, Egypt Lake-Leto, Feather Sound, Gibsonton, Largo, Lealman, Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Palm River, Pinellas Park, Riverdale, Safety Harbor, St. George, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Temple Terrace, Town ‘N’ Country, Westchase, areas in the vicinity of MacDill AFB, Tampa International Airport, and other communities in Hillsborough County.