Uncontested Divorce in Florida
- How to know if you can file for an uncontested divorce in Florida
- Setting yourself up for success
- The uncontested divorce process
- How long it takes
Dissolving a marriage is never an easy decision, but understanding the legal process can simplify the journey. One such path is an uncontested divorce, a less adversarial and more cost-effective option for couples who find common ground on all matters.
How to know if you can file for an uncontested divorce in Florida
A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is an expedited form of uncontested divorce available to Florida couples who meet specific criteria. It allows couples to bypass some of the more complex steps associated with regular divorce proceedings.
How can you qualify for this type of Florida divorce?
Marital settlement agreement
In an uncontested divorce, both parties must be in agreement, or at least mostly agree, on key settlement issues. These include division of assets and debts, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony.
Essentially, this means that you and your spouse have worked out these important issues amicably. You do not require the court to make decisions about property division, spousal or child support payments, or custody for you.
Florida law requires the legal residency of at least one of the parties in a divorce. One person must have lived there for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce in Florida. Why? This ensures that Florida courts have legal jurisdiction over the matter.
Who is the petitioner? Who is the respondent?
In legal terms, the petitioner is the person who initiates the divorce proceedings by filing the necessary paperwork with the court. The respondent is the other spouse.
In an uncontested divorce, even though one party files the paperwork, both parties have usually agreed to the divorce and the terms of the separation. Hence, the roles of petitioner and respondent are more administrative than adversarial.
What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
In Florida, the only grounds required for divorce is that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." This term means that there is no hope of reconciliation, and the marriage cannot be saved.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and indicate this in their divorce paperwork. There is no need to prove fault like cruelty or adultery, which simplifies the process considerably.
Get tips on a satisfying time-sharing schedule with your kids’ other parent here.
Setting yourself up for success
Before you can part ways and start your new respective lives, you and your spouse must agree on how to divide marital property, split time with your minor children, and more. Here are some of the ways you might achieve this.
Collaborative divorce is a process where both parties work together with their respective attorneys to negotiate the terms of the divorce. This approach encourages open communication and cooperation to reach a mutually beneficial settlement. It can be an effective way to preserve relationships, especially when dependent children are involved. You could use collaborative divorce techniques before filing an uncontested divorce.
In this process, a neutral third party (the mediator) helps the couple navigate through their settlement issues and reach an agreement on them. The mediator doesn't make decisions for the couple; they facilitate discussions and offer suggestions to help resolve conflicts.
Even in an uncontested divorce, a lawyer can help ensure all paperwork is correctly filled out and filed, and that all legal procedures are correctly followed. However, a lawyer is not always needed. Read our article, How to File an Uncontested Divorce without a Lawyer.
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What does the uncontested process look like in Florida?
1. Fill out forms
You'll need to complete several forms to start the divorce process, including a petition for dissolution of marriage.
2. File your forms with the court
Once completed, these forms must be filed with the court clerk in the county where you or your spouse reside
3. Serve your divorce papers
After filing, the next step is to serve the divorce papers on your spouse, formally notifying them of the divorce proceedings. Even in an uncontested divorce, this is almost always required.
4. Share financial information
Both parties are required to share financial information, including income, expenses, assets, and debts. This step is crucial for determining matters like alimony and division of assets.
5. Finish your divorce forms
After serving the papers, you'll need to complete additional forms based on your specific situation and the responses from your spouse. These may include financial affidavits and financial records.
6. File your paperwork
Once all the necessary forms are completed, they must be filed with the court.
7. Wait for a response
Finally, you will have to wait for a response from the court. If all the submitted materials are in order, the court will grant the divorce.
How long does it take?
Uncontested divorce in Florida typically takes between six weeks and three months. The variation in time can be due to several factors, including the efficiency of the local court system, how quickly the necessary paperwork is completed and submitted, and whether there are any complications or disputes that arise after the filing.
A key factor affecting the timeline is Florida divorce law’s mandatory 20-day waiting period. This period of time starts the day the divorce papers are served. It is designed to give couples a final opportunity to reconsider the divorce.
At Hello Divorce, we are equipped to help you get divorced in Florida whether your split is uncontested or contested, amicable or adversarial. Schedule a free 15-minute phone call with one of our account representatives to learn about our online divorce plans and other services, including legal advice from a divorce attorney.Suggested: