How can we
help you?
The Dowdel Law Firm PLLC
PO Box 781847
Orlando, FL 32878-1847

Office Phone 321-281-9497
Office Fax 321-251-7946
Legal Issue
Security code:
indicates a required field


Areas of Practice

  • Is my first consultation Free?
    Yes, the first consultation up to 30 minutes is free to you, whether by phone or at our Orlando office.
    Back to top

  • Do you work on retainer?
    Yes, you can place a retainer with us and we will be happy to work with you. We also handle some cases for a flat fee. Please feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation.
    Back to top

  • How long must I be a Florida resident before I can file for divorce?
    You must be a Florida resident for at least six months prior to filing for a divorce.
    Back to top

  • How do I get the divorce process started?
    The filing of a Petition for a Dissolution of Marriage starts the divorce process. This divorce petition outlines what you are requesting regarding child custody, child visitation, child support, alimony, property division, division of debts, and payment of attorney's fees and costs. If you have been served with a divorce petition by the Sheriff's Office or a private process server, then you have 20 days (exclusive of the day of service) to file your Answer or Answer and Counterpetition for Dissolution of Marriage with the clerk's office.
    Back to top

  • If I want to get a divorce, do I have to prove mistreatment/abuse/other wrongdoing on the part of my spouse?
    No. Florida has adopted a no-fault divorce standard. Generally, the court will grant your request for a divorce upon a showing only that the marriage is irretrievably broken. We will discuss the grounds for divorce in your particular situation with you at your Initial Office Consultation.
    Back to top

  • What if my spouse and I mutually agree that we should get divorced?
    If you and your spouse agree to ALL matters regarding custody, support, alimony, property division, payment of liabilities, court costs, and attorney fees, then you can get a divorce without mediation, trial, or any court hearings other than a short Final Hearing to finalize the divorce. This is called an uncontested dissolution of marriage. However, you will most likely still need an attorney to represent you, prepare your divorce paperwork, and get the divorce finalized. Please be advised that one attorney cannot represent both the Husband and the Wife in a divorce in Florida.
    Back to top

  • What about child custody and visitation?
    Florida law highly promotes and encourages shared parental responsibility for child custody. Parents are encouraged to share decision-making regarding their children. When an agreement cannot be reached, the judge will use a "best interests of the child" standard to determine questions regarding child custody and/or visitation.
    Back to top

  • What about child support?
    Florida has minimum suggested guidelines for determining child support. The amounts can be increased or decreased at the discretion of the court. Support is usually payable until age 18 (or 19 for completion of high school).
    Back to top

  • When the court orders a certain amount of child support, can that amount be changed?
    The amount of child support is modifiable under certain circumstances and through a variety of methods. The simplest method is for the parents to agree to a change, but the court must approve even an agreed-upon change in order to be enforceable.
    Back to top

  • I can't afford to support myself until my divorce trial. Can I get assistance now?
    If you need help with child support, financial support, and other marital issues while your divorce is pending, then your attorney will schedule a court hearing and ask the Magistrate or Judge to determine what temporary relief you are entitled to receive. This hearing is called a "Motion for Temporary Relief." Issues such as temporary child custody, temporary child visitation, temporary child support, temporary exclusive use and possession of the marital residence, temporary alimony, and temporary attorney's fees are addressed at these hearings.
    Back to top