WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
DIVORCE, PATERNITY, MODIFICATION, ALIMONY, CUSTODY
EXPECTED STEPS AND TIME FRAMES
Easy cases can be done in two months or less. Harder cases can be six to eight months with hotly contested or complex cases taking a year or more.
Once you have paid your retainer and returned your signed retainer agreement, the firm is officially retained and we begin working on your case. The first few days involve data entry and clerical work including creating a physical file and a computer file. After this we begin generating a case plan. This case plan is created by the attorney and shared with the entire staff so everyone knows what direction we are going in your case and what your goals include.
PROPOSALS OR PETITIONS
Approximately ten business days from being retained in an uncontested matter we generate the first proposed settlement agreement. In contested matters we usually have the petition ready for your review. Sometimes a couple of drafts are necessary before anything is ready to be sent to an outside party. This time period can be short or lengthy depending on the complexity of the case. In an uncontested matter after the draft proposal has been approved it is forwarded to the opposing party or the opposing attorney. Sometimes it is returned to us signed and we can move forward. Sometimes the other side wants items changed in the proposal. You and the attorney will go over the requested changes and decide what can be accommodated. From there we will decide to just file and move ahead in the legal process or to make other proposals or accommodations. This is often when an uncontested matter turns contested.
When an uncontested matter becomes contested an additional retainer is required and the process called “discovery” begins. The Florida Rules governing these matters requires a lengthy list of financial documents to be provided by both sides. The law generally gives each side 30 or 45 days to provide these documents. It is common for people to require more time in gathering these documents. Sometimes people refuse to provide them so they try to ignore the request.
Discovery can involve subpoenas, requests to produce various documents and evidence and depositions. All of these things can take a few months to complete. If people have a pretty simple financial picture, discovery is generally completed within two months and we are ready to go to mediation.
Mediation is required in all cases. Mediation usually takes six to eight hours. When the mediation process occurs in your case you will receive more information from us outlining its particulars.
After mediation, the parties often conduct depositions. Sometimes it is better to do depositions before mediation. Many attorneys attempt mediation before deposition as most depositions cause the parties to become defensive, argumentative and vengeful. Depositions require coordinating a minimum of four party’s calendars. This could take another month or two.
After depositions, the case is usually ready to announce ready for trial and a notice is then sent to the court. The court has 30 to 60 days from the filing of a “Notice Ready for Trial” to send a pretrial conference order and date. . At that conference the actual trial date will be set depending on the length of time needed for trial. This could be anywhere from two months to six months from the pre-trial conference date.
Once the trial date is set, the fun begins. Fun you say? Yes. If after all this we have not worked out your case, you cannot wait for your day in court!