Tampa, Florida


Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?
Though it is not legally necessary to utilize the services of a lawyer if you are interested in dissolving your marriage, it is important to remember that you could greatly benefit from the experience and knowledge of a skilled Tampa divorce attorney at Givens Givens Sparks. The Florida legal system can be very confusing and difficult to navigate if you are at all unfamiliar with family law. You deserve to have the best possible legal help when you are going through a divorce so that you can ensure that your legal rights are protected.

How can an attorney help me?
There are many forms and documents it is necessary to collect and return within a certain amount of time. When you are working with an attorney, he will be able to help ensure that you meet all deadlines appropriately and he can also make sure that the forms are filled out correctly. In addition, if you have questions about how the process will work or what to expect from your divorce, your attorney will be able to give you a good estimate.

How much alimony will I be required to pay/will I receive?
When you meet with your lawyer at Givens Givens Sparks, he will be able to discuss in great detail your circumstances and the situation that you and your family are facing. Every divorce is different, just as every family is different. Though there is no hard and fast method of how you can figure out how much alimony you might pay or receive, your attorney could be able to give you a good estimate in addition to ensuring that your rights are upheld in the process.

What is a contested divorce?
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an accord in the many areas encompassed by your divorce, such as custody, alimony, child support and property division, your divorce is considered to be "contested." In these cases, it is in your best interest to speak with a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in the area of family law and divorce. At Givens Givens Sparks, the four family lawyers are very experienced and they are all either board-certified or supervised by a board-certified attorney.

What if I need to modify my divorce agreement?
Modification to custody or support agreements become necessary over the years as circumstances change, remarriages occur or children reach maturity. At Givens Givens Sparks, we are able to provide you with the legal counsel you need if you need to change your divorce arrangement.

Custody Questions

What is child custody?
Child custody is generally defined as the legal authority to make decisions about the child’s life and well-being as well as being responsible for the child’s developmental, financial, physical and emotional needs. There are several different types of custody that can be awarded after a divorce. The courts will look in to several different factors regarding both parents and the child or children involved to determine what the best custodial arrangement is.

What types of paternity tests are generally used?
The most accurate form of test that is used to determine paternity in a court of law is blood testing. Florida commonly uses two types of blood tests – the first is called the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) blood test. The second is a DNA test that compares the genetic code of the child to both the potential father as well as the mother.

I have primary custody of my children and I want to move to another state. What do I do?
There are laws in Florida that prohibit the primary custodial parent from moving the child’s residence farther than 50 miles away from the current location without obtaining a court order or written permission from the other parent. If you are interested in moving your child’s primary residence, it is in your best interests to speak with a Tampa relocation attorney. He or she can help you file the proper paperwork and assist you in the process.

I haven’t received child support from my children’s other parent. What can I do?
If your ex-spouse has broken your child support agreement, you have a legal right to inform the Florida court in order to get the financial support that you need to support your child. If the other parent of your child refuses to pay child support, he or she can be held in contempt of court which carries certain penalties with it, one of which is incarceration.

Do I need a lawyer if I want to change my custody agreement?
The Florida courts are often hesitant to change an established custody agreement – they want to make sure that the child or children have as much stability and consistency in their lives as possible. A Tampa modification of custody attorney can help you go through the process of changing your custody agreement. However, if you feel that your child is in immediate danger, it is very important that you speak with someone right away. An emergency modification of custody agreement can be effected in the case of abuse, abandonment, neglect or any other type of situation that puts the child at risk.

Domestic Violence Questions

What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence refers to the way that one family member will treat another in order to dominate, subjugate or punish the other person in order to keep the abusive person in power over the victim. The abuser can use many different tactics such as embarrassment, humiliation, fear, intimidation, economic constraints and various types of abuse such as physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse and psychological abuse.

What is a domestic violence injunction?
Also known as a restraining order or an order of protection, a domestic violence injunction is a court order in the state of Florida demanding that a person discontinue any threats, harm, harassment or other abuse against another person or people. This type of court order can be permanent or it can be on a temporary basis, depending on the circumstances of your case.

Can I get a restraining order without an attorney?
You absolutely can go about getting a restraining order (also called order of protection or domestic violence injunction) without the help of a lawyer. However, in most cases it is extremely important to get the abusive family member away from his or her victims as soon as possible. If you are unfamiliar with the Florida legal system, precious time could be added to the whole process. A skilled Tampa restraining order lawyer can help you through the process in an expedient manner.

How do I know if I am being abused?
This is a very important question to ask yourself, because many people suffer through years of abuse before realizing that the type of situation that they are in is unnecessary and uncalled for. If your spouse or family member is constantly belittling you, humiliating you or otherwise intimidating you in private or in front of other family members, that can qualify as abuse. If you live in a state of fear or intimidation because of the actions of your partner, you should speak with a Tampa domestic violence attorney as soon as possible in order to determine the best course of action.

My child is being abused and I want to get a restraining order. What should I do?
You need to act fast if your child is being abused in any way. You can obtain a restraining order (also called an order of protection or domestic violence injunction) on your own, but when expediency is vital, you need to speak with a qualified Tampa restraining order attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can take you through the process swiftly and successfully to help get your child out of the abusive situation as soon as possible.

Do you offer any free services to your clients?
We do offer a service to each client who is interested – you can sign up for a free meeting with a mental health professional or with a financial planner. Speak to your attorney about when the next class is being held, and we will get you set up to attend. Our greatest goal is for you to be happy, healthy and successful. That’s why we have arranged to deliver this free service to every client of ours who desires it.

Case Results

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which a child was nearly removed from her mother’s custody and given to the child’s alleged father, although the father had not yet established paternity. Candela filed a written response on behalf of her client (the mother) alleging fraud by the father and had the pick-up order set aside before custody was transferred to the father. The practical result was to allow the mother and child stay in their home state (not Florida) pending the resolution of the case. The Court agreed and granted Candela’s client custody.

  • Family Law Case - Child Custody

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client filed a Petition to Establish Paternity, and the mother was served. After being served, the mother fled the state with the child. Candela filed an Emergency Motion for the immediate return of the child, and at that hearing, which was granted on an emergency basis, the mother was forced to turn the child over to the father, giving the father sole custody of the child pending the ultimate resolution of the case.

  • Family Law Case - Relocation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client (the father) accused his child’s mother of relocating the child out of state without the consent of the child’s father. Candela was able to obtain a court order to return the child to the state of Florida and to remain in her client’s care while establishing permanent custody and timesharing plans. After Candela’s successful litigation of the case, the Court ruled that the mother’s Petition for Relocation was denied, and that the child shall live primarily with Candela’s client in Florida, with summer and school break schedules allotted to the mother.

  • Family Law Case - Timesharing Violation

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which her client was accused of violating a timesharing schedule agreed upon by both parental parties at the time the couple was divorced. The client’s child’s mother claimed that Candela’s client did not return the child for holiday timesharing at both Christmas and Easter. Candela had sent formal correspondence to the child’s mother regarding the dispute over the interpretation of the timesharing schedule, and when she did not agree, the father kept the child. The Court agreed with Candela’s interpretation of the timesharing schedule and found that her client was not in contempt for either holiday.

  • Family Law Case - Unilateral Medical-Related Decisions

    Givens Givens Sparks trial attorney, Kelly Candela, successfully litigated a family law case in which she filed a Motion for Contempt on behalf of her client against the mother of his child for making unilateral medical-related decisions for the minor child without his knowledge. The Court agreed that the mother was in violation of the final judgment of their dissolution of marriage and held her in indirect civil contempt. The Court also ordered that the treatment in question cease immediately and that the mother be solely responsible for any and all costs related to that treatment. Furthermore, the Court ordered that the mother was not to make any unilateral decisions in the future and was to notify the father of any future appointments so that he could be present either over the phone or in person.

Client Testimonials

  • "I feel exceptionally fortunate having been referred to you."

  • "Rob has proven his extraordinary talent, perseverance, vast knowledge of the law, along with his professional demeanor and his ability to communicate and listen well."

  • "Your expertise, knowledge and professionalism put me at ease while you handled my out of state matters."

  • "I will be forever grateful for your assistance, understanding & concern on my divorce."

  • "Know anyone with the same amount of class, ethics and thoughtfulness and ability to execute as you?"

  • "The times we have with our granddaughter are a constant reminder of Rob’s highly effective work."

  • "Going through a divorce is a very traumatic event, but you all make your clients feel cared for and the trust factor is definitely felt."

  • "I would recommend them 200% to anyone who has to go through a divorce."

  • "I truly appreciate your brilliant legal minds and your professional protection of my desires and interests as pertaining to my home."

  • "If I ever have a friend who's going through a divorce, you will be the only name for me to recommend."

  • "Mr. Givens assured me that he was placing my needs in very good hands. He was correct because we are in a much better place because of your efforts."

  • "Stann is an intellectually gifted, highly motivated, knowledgeable attorney. He was truly a 'master negotiator.'"

  • "Rob, Thank you for your assistance and guidance throughout my divorce process. I will certainly recommend you to others seeking legal support."

  • "I appreciate you both always taking the time to answer all of my questions"

  • "Your joint efforts and hard work have finally brought a son and father together."

  • "Your guidance and wisdom has truly guided me through this difficult process that I can now put behind me."

  • "His research, preparation and professionalism is noteworthy in every aspect."

  • "Rob, I wanted to say THANK YOU for all of the time, effort and hard work you put into my case! Without your assistance, Madison would not be here with us in South Florida."

  • "Your guidance and wisdom has truly guided me through this difficult process that I can now put behind me. "

  • "His research, preparation and professionalism is noteworthy in every aspect. You have a brilliant attorney on your team."

  • Paula, thank you so much! You have been a true pleasure to work with through this difficult process. I really appreciate it.

  • "Rob, Thanks again for all of your help through this process. You and Paula have both been great."

  • "Ellen, this comes with sincere gratitude for a job well done. You have restored my faith in your profession. Thank you for always acting in my best interest."

  • "Ellen, I could not have been more fortunate in my legal representation!"

  • "I am very happy that I selected your firm and would not hesitate to give my highest recommendation."

  • "Rob, I wanted to say thank you for all your efforts in getting this agreement settled."

  • You have been wonderfully amazing. Thank you for everything. So grateful.

Get In Touch

At Givens Givens Sparks, your family is our family. As such, we promise to fight for each client and voraciously protect their best interests. Facing a family law issue? Get in touch with us to learn how we can help!

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