I have to prepare to represent myself in a divorce case in FL on 11/12/2013. The date was set on 10/3/2013 after the case was remanded back from the appellate
court based on my appeal which I handled pro se (my pleadings were stricken as I had refused to provide my residential address and the appellate court overturned that order, thereby overturning the final judgment). The judge did not ask me if I was available on that date, and refused to allow me to continue the date she chose. She did ask if my husband's lawyer was available however.
NOTE (because this always comes up): I absolutely cannot afford a lawyer. There are no lawyers who will handle divorce pro bono (I've tried for 2.5 years) and I don't qualify for legal aid as there are no minor children (yes, I realize that is different in some areas, but that is the qualifier in that county for legal aid). My husband refuses to settle even though I've offered to give him all the assets (yes, I know that sounds crazy, but he's a psychopath), so I have no other choice than to do this myself, just as I briefed the appeal myself. Yes, we are married again since the appeal (which the judge confirmed) even though we were previously divorced and yes, I do realize that sounds "wrong" but I don't know of anything I can do about that.
I have some questions I'm hoping I can get some help with from the great lawyers here.
1. What valuation date does the court use for division of assets in Florida? This is confusing for me because we essentially separated on 3/14/2011 when he was arrested for trying to kill me. He filed for divorce on 3/20/2011. However, we continued to operate a business which he stated we would continue to do together (at the Injunction for Protection Hearing on 3/29/2011). Unbeknownst to me, he had already set up his own business (on 3/26/2011) and began instructing the customers to pay his new business. Yet, he continued to charge expenses for the business to my business account (which was not his) until 5/3/2011 -- even though he was receiving all the income from the business. At that point, I closed my business account. I had paid the mortgage and household expenses until also. Therefore, it appears to me that 5/3/2011 should be the date of valuation. Can I make that argument?
2. I have filed a motion for contempt against him as he did not comply fully with discovery. I'm waiting for the judicial assistant to provide me with a date for a hearing but we have 5 weeks until trial. The judge was aware of this when she set the trial date. Is there an official "cut off" date for discovery in Florida prior to trial?
3. There are witnesses I would like to call (business customers who were confused about how he was handling the name change
back in March and April of 2011 from whom I have emails). I listed them in my discovery responses. I realize I will have to subpoena
them. Can I do this in 5 weeks? Is there anything else I have to do in order to call them? Is there a timeline by which I must subpoena them? Can I send those by certified mail or will I need a process server in Florida (I no longer live there)?
4. I have read that some states require trial briefs, does Florida? If so, is there a timeline for submitting that? (There was no trial brief for the first hearing, but my pleadings had been stricken so it's possible I was not made aware of one.)
5. Apart from reading and re-reading various rules of procedure, what else do I need to research?
Thank you so very much.