On September 5th, the public got even more insight into the now very public life of George Zimmerman (acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin) when his soon-to-be ex-wife filed divorce papers in Seminole County. In August, Shellie Zimmerman was found guilty of perjury and ended up with probation, plus 100 hours community service for her false statements regarding the couple’s finances during George’s bail hearings.
Sheila explained that the couple has been under intense scrutiny from “both sides” and identified the weakness of their marriage as two people fighting their own struggles to be heard by the other. She described their lives around the time of the trial and after as “living like gypsies” for security purposes with constant “babysitter” bodyguards looming over them.
The Zimmerman divorce, despite already being filed, likely hit a snag when on September 9th, Lake Mary police detained Zimmerman for a domestic dispute incident, which was resulted in a panicked 911 call by Sheila claiming George was threatening her and her father with physical violence and a gun. She further alleged George punched her father in the face during the confrontation. Sheila ultimately withdrew some of her statements, and charges were dropped against George.
The divorce, as expected, continued to move forward for Sheila and her attorneys but hit an unexpected issue when on September 22 George Zimmerman disappeared. With George in hiding, this absence is drastically delaying the divorce from proceeding until Sheila can comply with Florida divorce law and properly serve him with divorce papers. TMZ confirmed he is safe but currently in an undisclosed location.
Service of Papers in Florida
In order to successfully initiate a divorce proceeding in Florida, you must serve the other party with a Family Law Summons and copies of the papers you filed with the court. Most individuals will seek out private process servers to complete this task but a good attorney can equip a divorcing party with companies that prove to be trustworthy and efficient. The other party may waive the necessity to be served, but in the absence of this motion by that party, all divorcing parties need to complete the service of process step.
Upon service, the opposing party will have 20 days to respond in writing. Assuming the party responds, the divorce will be classified as either contested or uncontested. For those looking to hide from process servers, this strategy will ultimately prove futile as there are alternative remedies. Furthermore it is a myth that a process server must hand you the summons; they only need to serve you in your area.
In cases where a respondent is unable to be located for service, you will need to give them “constructive notice”, which is also known as notice by publication. You will need to give a good diligent effort to at first locate them and may not just immediately claim they cannot be found. But if they ultimately cannot be found, or are in hiding, you will be able to publish the notice in a newspaper in the area for 30 days. The publication costs of this may add up, but it is certainly a way around not being able to locate the party in quesiton.
The Florida family law office at Sandy T. Fox, P.A. Has developed a reputation of knowledgeable and experienced strategy and advocacy for clients seeking solutions to their family law needs. Serving clients in the Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade regions, our firm can take you step by step through the divorce process and ensure all steps are taken effectively and efficiently. If you are initiating a divorce, expecting one, or exploring your options, contact us for a confidential consultation on your issues, contact our office online or by calling (800) 596-0579.
More Blog Posts:
Florida Child Custody Concerns on a Startling Rise, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, July 31, 2013
Important Updates to Florida’s Alimony/Child Custody Legislation, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, May 8, 2013