In order to file for divorce in Florida, the parties must be married to each other, at least one of them must have resided in Florida for the six months prior to filing and at least one party must claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken (i.e. there are no methods by which the marriage can be saved, by the parties or the court).
Typically, a Florida divorce is either a simplified dissolution of marriage or a regular dissolution of marriage.
A simplified dissolution of marriage is one in which both parties are considered petitioners (the person asking the court for the divorce) and can be done if the following additional conditions are met: the parties have no minor children in common, the wife is not pregnant at the time of filing and both parties have completed a “Financial Affidavit” (a written statement outlining their property and finances) and a “property settlement agreement” (an agreement that settles all of their property issues). Both parties must also attend the final divorce hearing together.
The majority of Florida divorces are regular dissolutions of marriage. This type of divorce can be an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. Only one party is considered the petitioner while the other party is considered the respondent. In an uncontested divorce, both parties must be in agreement on all the relevant issues: the settlement of marital property and marital debts and all issues regarding the minor children. Both parties must settle everything in a signed “Marital Settlement Agreement.” Both parties are also required to complete financial affidavits and attend the final divorce hearing.
In a contested divorce, both parties are not in agreement about the settlement of marital property and marital debts and all issues regarding the minor children. In some cases, the parties will eventually end up coming to an agreement with the help of lawyers and mediators. In other cases, both parties will end up going to trial in front of a judge that will decide the issues for them. The petitioner spouse is required to attend the final hearing, but the respondent spouse is not.
If you’re thinking about getting a Florida divorce, don’t go through it alone. Our family attorney can help you get the outcome that’s most favorable to you and your family.