Divorce law can be a complicated process, from working collectively with your spouse, filing the correct paperwork, deciding on the division of assets, creating a plan for custody of your children if you have any, and ultimately being granted a divorce judgment.
As your local family and divorce lawyer, we want to provide you with the best resources and information during one of the hardest times in your life. The legal process may feel overwhelming, and we’re here to help answer some of your most pressing questions, including how to file for divorce in Florida without your spouse.
Can You Get a Divorce Without the Other Person Signing in Florida?
The good news is, yes, you can. Florida is considered a “no-fault” state, so you don’t have to prove who was at fault to file divorce papers and be granted a divorce.
If you are filing for divorce, it is important that both spouses sign the petition and agree to the terms of the final judgment. In some cases, however, the other spouse may refuse to sign the petition because they do not want to go through with the divorce.
This can happen when:
- The marriage has been over for a long time, and the parties have grown apart;
- There is a minor child or children involved who need their parents’ attention;
- One party wants to reconcile before going through with the divorce;
- One or both parties are too young to decide what to do about the divorce rationally;
- One party does not want to lose custody of their dependent children
If you find yourself in this situation, don’t fret. You can still be granted a divorce even if your spouse won’t sign the divorce papers. In these situations, it’s always a good idea to speak with our experienced divorce attorney to look at your options.
How Do I Get a Divorce if I Can’t Find My Spouse in Florida?
In Florida, once you file for divorce, your spouse must respond within 30 days. If they don’t, you can ask the court to issue an order requiring them to show cause why they shouldn’t be held in contempt of court. If the judge finds that the person willfully disobeyed the court’s order, they could be sentenced to jail.
If you can’t find your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you can still file for divorce. First, you must exercise due diligence in trying to find your partner if they cannot be found or contacted. So, if your partner decides to go missing before you can make your court appearance, ensure you’ve taken all the steps to locate them first.
Can You Get Divorced in Florida Without Going to Court?
You can get an uncontested divorce or a “dissolution of marriage” if you qualify. This is a quicker method and can save you money on filing fees. You have to meet certain requirements to use this method. These requirements include state residency, agreeing on the reason for divorce, and any issues of your case.
- Residency Requirement – You or your spouse must have resided in Florida for at least six months before you filed for divorce.
- Agreeing on the Reason for Divorcing – You and your spouse must agree on the reason for filing for divorce. Florida offers two “no-fault” options, including stating that your marriage is irretrievably broken or if your spouse is mentally incapacitated. That later must be decided by a court and in effect for at least three years before your file a divorce petition.
- Agreeing on Issues of Your Case – To file uncontested, you and your spouse must agree on the separation and division of marital property, including real estate/property division and personal property, division of debts, alimony payments if applicable, child support, and child custody decisions of any dependent children you share. These are all major and serious conversations that must be agreed upon.
How Long Do You Have to Be Separated in Florida to Get a Divorce?
No waiting period or separation requirements must be met in Florida to file your divorce papers or be granted a divorce. Most states require some separation time period before you can legally begin the divorce process. The only requirement to file your divorce papers in Florida is a residency requirement. One of the parties must have lived in Florida for at least half of the year.
Filing for Divorce in Florida With Children
Marriage is a legal and emotional attachment that can be tricky, messy, and mentally draining when you decide it’s time to split. This process can get even more complicated when you have a minor child or children involved who depend on you and your spouse for their care and safety.
Along with the division of marital assets, you and your spouse must agree on custody of your children. If you both can agree on terms of custody and visitation rights, this process should be fairly easy and included in your divorce paperwork and settlement agreement that you can sign off on. If you and your partner cannot agree, you will want to obtain legal advice and get some help.
Once you have decided on custody, you must also take a required course called “Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course.” You are required to take this course even if you are not a Florida resident but filing for divorce in the state.
Have More Questions About Uncontested or Contested Divorce?
A regular divorce can feel complicated enough, but having an uncooperative spouse can make it feel impossible. We are here to help you answer your questions about the grounds for divorce and what your easiest course of action can be. Our team can also help you prepare your divorce documents to save you the stress and headache of doing so. We are here to help you through this challenging and often stressful time. If you have any unanswered questions, contact our team today.