When you are preparing pleadings for a divorce case you need to make sure to ask for everything that you want.  In Florida, you have to give notice.  The other side has to have notice of what you are seeking so they have an opportunity to defend.  This is not like television where you can sneak up and throw stuff out there and surprise everybody and have that Matlock moment.  The person you are going against, whether you are the husband or wife, needs notice when you are preparing pleadings in a divorce in Florida. 

The paperwork for a divorce is pretty straight forward.  There are basic stuff you have to put in like jurisdiction and venue and that kind of a thing, but make sure that you put in every single thing that you possibly could want.  When in doubt put too much in.  There is no need to put ugly things in there, general statements are good enough, but the generality must be specific enough to put the other person on some sort of notice.  When you are dealing with a child you need to be specific.  The court should be notified of the existence of any minor children of the marriage in the pleadings.  If the wife is pregnant this also should be stated as well as or not any other children are contemplated.  Make sure to put in there if there are children that are not yours.  Step-children do not need to be put in there, but if a child was born during an intact marriage, it is presumed to be the husbands.  So at that point you need to put in your pleadings that the child is not yours, if you in fact believe it is not yours. 

This kicks in a petition to disestablish paternity and there are many things associated with this that are necessary.  You have to be very careful with this.  This is probably a “one bite at the apple” scenario.  If there is a divorce and the children are deemed yours and later on it is believed by you that the children are not yours, it may be too late.  Consult with an attorney to be sure, though.  Basically, put the information in regarding what you want done with the children.  There is also something called the UCCJEA.  What that does is confer jurisdiction on the court over children.  This is an affidavit that either needs to be made separately from your initial petition for dissolution or you can actually put it in the dissolution papers itself. 

There is a statutory preference for shared parental responsibility.  If you want sole parental responsibility you must specifically ask for it.  Know that it is very difficult to get this, however.  When you are dealing with children child support is involved and therefore a financial affidavit must be filed also.  This is a detailed document basically saying how much you earn and what your expenses are.  Many times people will try to mess with the numbers.  Be advised that that is crazy!  You will easily be shown that your income is different from what you have tried to show the court and your credibility will go south quick.  Once a court sees that you are not being truthful on one thing, they will assume you are not being truthful on anything else.  Always have candor with the tribunal.  If you are wanting a house to be sold like the marital home, you must specifically put in your pleadings a specific count for partition. 

This is basically a count that will be in your divorce proceedings to force the sale of any property.  If you want attorney’s fees same thing.  If you want temporary alimony temporary child support or any type of temporary relief, same thing.  You can put all of this in your initial divorce paperwork or, file separate pleadings for all of this, but they must be plead.  Remember, if you are filing paperwork in the state of Florida for a divorce, you have to make it very clear what you are looking for.  You do not have to give your entire case away, there is some strategy that can be used, but the quickest way to have all of your pleadings dismissed is for the opposing party to say that you did not give proper notice of a certain thing that you wanted. 

Kenny Leigh & Associates is a Florida family law firm that specializes in representing men in divorce and all family law proceedings.

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