DIVORCE & DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE IN FLORIDA
Divorce in Florida is called a “dissolution of marriage.” Florida, a no-fault divorce state, requires the spouse filing for divorce to list that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” to start divorce proceedings. However, divorce in Florida requires several requirements to proceed with the divorce. For example, you or your spouse must be a resident of Florida for at least six months.
The divorce proceedings in Florida fall into one of two categories: uncontested divorce and contested divorce. These are divorce categories because they describe how they will proceed. There are big differences between the two divorces offered in Florida.
Divorce in Florida: Uncontested Divorce
In Florida, an uncontested divorce occurs when you and your spouse work out issues pertaining to your divorce. These issues include, but are not limited to debts, division of property and child custody. In addition to agreeing to divorce issues, you and your spouse are in complete agreement on how to proceed with these issues. This means that you and your spouse agree on everything from what will happen with marital issues to how they’re resolved.
An uncontested divorce is the best way to end a marriage. It allows you to make decisions amicably and move on with your lives. Many people don’t know this, but making decisions on marital issues is often the “heavy lifting” of a divorce in Florida. That’s all a divorce in Florida is about: making decisions. If you and your spouse can put aside any differences about the end of your marriage and find common ground, the divorce process will proceed quicker.
Another thing about an uncontested divorce is that it is more affordable divorce in Florida option. Since you and your spouse agree, or can negotiate on specific divorce issues, it saves a lot of money. You and your spouse submit a written agreement to the Florida divorce court. Once the judge agrees with the agreement, they will order your divorce decree. The shortest amount of time you’ll wait to get your divorce is approximately 20 days. It can take longer depending on how many divorce cases are filed ahead of yours in divorce court.
The only thing about getting this type of divorce in Florida is legal representation. According to Florida law, you and your spouse can’t hire the same lawyer or law firm. A lawyer has a fiduciary duty to their client. Thus, they have to fight for what’s in the best interest of their client. This fiduciary duty is compromised when representing both spouses in a divorce. They can’t represent the best interest for both clients fairly and objectively.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce
If you are thinking about pursuing a divorce that isn’t contested, here is what you should know:
- A wife can’t be pregnant at the time of filing for divorce.
- You can’t have any children younger than 18 years old. This includes adopted children.
- You and your spouse agree to the division of property and debts.
- You and your spouse aren’t seeking alimony.
- You or your spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months prior to seeking the dissolution of marriage.
- You and your spouse agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken and can not be repaired because of permanent serious differences.
Divorce is never easy. It’s also a complicated legal situation that requires the help of a divorce attorney. If you want a divorce or to understand your rights and responsibilities when seeking a divorce, contact a lawyer.
Divorce in Florida: Contested Divorce
A contested divorce can be summed in one word “drama.” During this type of divorce, you and your spouse do not agree on any marital issues. Generally, the only way to resolve this is to go to divorce court. In divorce court, a judge will determine the value and distribution of marital assets, alimony and child custody.
Every contested divorce starts with a lawsuit. This is the petition for the dissolution of marriage. The second step is a counter-suit. For example, you file for divorce. Your spouse doesn’t want the divorce, they file a counter-suit. This creates a divorce that is considered contested.
During the divorce in Florida process, you and your spouse exchange information. This is called the discovery process. The most common part of discovery is the exchange of financial information. The next step is mediation. Mediation is where you and your spouse, along with your lawyers, work to resolve your marital terms such as alimony, child custody, and division of property.
Sometimes, you and your spouse can agree to these terms of your divorce in Florida. This will quicken the pace of your divorce. If you can resolve some of the marital terms, a contested divorce trial or hearing is scheduled. During the hearing or trial, a judge makes the decisions on the rest of the divorce terms.
The cost of a contested divorce varies greatly. It all depends on how much you and your spouse can’t agree on divorce terms. If your contested divorce becomes a semi-contested one, you and your spouse quickly reach an agreement, the cost may not be too high. The longer it takes to agree on divorce terms, the higher the cost of your divorce in Florida.
In a contested divorce, you and your spouse must have separate legal counsel. This is the same as a divorce in Florida where spouses agree on all divorce terms. Florida divorce laws prohibit spouses from having the same divorce attorney.
Divorce in Florida Requires the Help of a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce in Florida isn’t something you put on your to-do list when you get married.
When you and/or your spouse decide to legally end your marriage, you must make one decision first. That decision is whether you will pursue a contested or uncontested divorce.
Contact a divorce lawyer regarding your rights and responsibilities when pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce. In fact, contact us. We will fight hard to resolve your divorce case in your favor. Our legal team is available for an initial consultation. Feel free to contact us immediately to discuss your divorce in Florida situation.