Tampa, Florida

Frequently Asked Questions


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about a family law issue? Below, we've touched briefly on a variety of issues such as divorce, children, firm information, and property division. These are some of the most common questions we receive, but not a comprehensive list, so if you still have questions, please call and we will be happy to give you the answers you need.


Can I get a divorce without retaining an attorney?

Yes, you absolutely can go about getting a divorce on your own. However, Florida divorce law can be very confusing, and even if you just want a quick, uncontested divorce, you still have to be able to skillfully navigate the Florida legal system. Our Tampa divorce attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks offer a special service to people who are interested in obtaining a fast, amicable divorce. Flat Fee Divorce is easy and inexpensive, and our board-certified attorneys have the experience and familiarity with the system to help you through the process as quickly as possible.

What is collaborative divorce?

Collaborative law is a relatively new way of handling divorces in the United States. Developed in the early 90's, collaborative divorce is a completely different way of approaching marriage dissolution. Each party retains his or her own attorney, but this system is done completely outside of the courtroom. The mindset of this type of divorce is totally toward cooperating and reaching an amicable agreement in all aspects of your divorce, including child support, alimony, child custody, property division and other issues. Our collaborative divorce attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks are very experienced in this type of law and are among the relatively few lawyers who practice it in Florida. Founding partner Stann Givens is a member of the Collaborative Divorce Lawyers of Tampa Bay and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

What is alimony?

Alimony is generally defined as the support paid to the dependent spouse that continues after the marriage has been dissolved. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support or maintenance. There are several types of alimony in Florida, and depending upon the circumstances of your divorce, you may be eligible to receive alimony or you may be required to support your ex-spouse. If you have questions about what types of alimony you can expect after your divorce, you can always speak with an alimony attorney at Givens Givens Sparks.


What types of paternity tests are available to me?

The most accurate way to determine paternity is through a blood test. There are two different types of blood tests that are generally used in Florida paternity cases. The first type of test is the Human - if this blood test indicates that the person being tested has an over 95% chance of being the biological father, then the court will assume that the man is the father unless someone comes forth to contest the results with proof that states otherwise. The other type of test used is a DNA test that compares the genetic code of the child with those of the mother and the father in question.

How much should I expect to set aside for supporting my child?

The state of Florida uses a child support calculator based upon your monthly income and the number of children. That calculator is used often to find a general starting point and does not necessarily indicate the amount that you will have to pay. Depending on the circumstances, amount of time you spend with the child and other factors, the amount might be more or less. However, each situation is unique and once you meet with one of our attorneys, you will have a much better idea of what you can expect.

I have shared custody with my children, but I want to move to another state. What do I do?

If you are going to move with your child or children more than 50 miles away from your primary residence, you must get a written agreement from the other parent. You also have should obtain a court order allowing the relocation. We can help you through the process of obtaining either written agreement or a court order. Our family law attorneys are very familiar with the Florida statutes surrounding situations like these, and we can effectively guide you through the process.

Firm Information

Do you offer any classes or 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.

How is your firm qualified to handle my case?

Givens Givens Sparks is perhaps one of the most qualified family law firms in Tampa. Our attorneys have more than 135 years of collective experience and have received top legal ratings such as Best Law Firms, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and AV Preeminent™. Two of our attorneys are also Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar.

If I’ve already retained an attorney, can I ask your firm for a second opinion?

Our firm is always happy to provide second opinions to individuals who may already have retained an attorney, but are unsure if they are getting the best deal. Contact us to learn more.

Property Division

How is property divided in divorce?

In Florida, property is divided by the equitable distribution principle. This means that separate property is kept separate, while marital (jointly held) property is divided equitably. This can mean equal or unequal division of assets for both parties.

What is marital property and what is separate property?

Marital property is any property owned jointly by spouses. Separate property typically is property that a single spouse owned independently before marriage.

What factors does the judge consider when dividing assets?

In divorce cases that go to family law court, the judge will base their property division decision on a number of factors, including: the length of the marriage, what each party contributed to the marriage, total income and debts of both parties, and the physical/emotional health of both parties.

Contact a Tampa divorce & family law attorney at Givens Givens Sparks today to discuss your Florida family law case.

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