A divorce action is frequently one of the most stressful and emotionally traumatic situations one will ever go through in their lifetime. It is therefore important to know what to expect and how long the process can take in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Time Frame

A divorce begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and ends upon the entry of a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage ( what is usually called in most States a Judgment of Divorce). This process, from beginning to end, can take as little as four weeks to up to two or occasionally even three years. The average divorce action takes approximately four to eight months to resolve. The average post-dissolution matter usually takes approximately four to six months to resolve.

Free Initial consultation

This is the first time the client and the attorney meet. In our firm, Mr. Leininger carefully listens to the prospective client at this meeting and he assesses what is in the client's best interests. Mr.Leininger will then advise the prospective client how the law applies to the facts of their case. He will also candidly tell the prospective client whether their expectations are realistic. We call this making sure the prospective client understands the likely result. It is at this first meeting that the attorney and client will formulate their strategy and begin the process of gathering documents which will have to be supplied during mandatory financial disclosure.

Financial Disclosure

Parties to all Florida divorce actions must  exchange financial information. These documents consist of financial affidavits in which the parties list their income and expenses, and their assets and liabilities. Each party must also produce income tax returns, credit card statements, bank statements, and other financial documents.

Other Forms of Pre-Trial Discovery: In some cases, it is necessary to hire financial experts and to take the depositions of non-party witnesses prior to going to mediation and/or trial. Each party also has the right to have their attorney conduct a deposition under oath of their spouse.

Pre-Trial Mediation

In Florida, a majority of divorce cases settle during Court-Ordered Mediation. This Mediation is an informal meeting in which the parties and their attorneys meet and attempt to settle their case with the help of a Mediator. The Mediator is a neutral third party who is either an attorney or retired Judge with family law expertise. If an agreement is reached at Mediation, a Marital Settlement Agreement is prepared and frequently signed by the parties that same day. The Marital Settlement Agreement is filed with the Court and a Final Judgment of Dissolution is entered dissolving the marriage shortly thereafter.


Trials can be very expensive, and extremely stressful for the parties. However, trials are necessary in some cases. In matters in which the parties have attempted, unsuccessfully, to settle their case at Mediation, a judge will conduct a trial and hear the evidence presented by the parties, and will make a decision regarding all disputed matters. The judges' decision will then be incorporated into a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, which in most states is called a Judgment of Divorce.

Divorces are never easy. During this difficult time, it is essential for you to retain an experienced Sarasota divorce attorney who will provide both skilled and effective legal services and advice. Mr. Leininger will also use his 40 years of divorce litigation experience to assist you in dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety that you may face during the divorce process.

Call Today

Divorce attorney William J Leininger can help you handle the stress of divorce litigation and give you honest and clear legal advice about your divorce.

Call the law office of Attorney William J Leininger at 941-727-5555 or contact us online to schedule your Free Consultation. Mr. Leininger offers appointments on Monday through Saturday, including some evenings. What have you got to lose?