How do I get a divorce in Florida? You may be wondering how to start the process of divorce. The first step is making sure that you are eligible to divorce in Florida, which means that one of the spouses must have been a Florida resident for at least 6 months before filing. If this is not true, then you will need to divorce outside of Florida.
Bragg Family Law Firm offers several family law support services, including dissolution of marriage.
Qualifications for Divorce in Florida
Florida is one of many states that does not require one to establish fault as a requirement for divorce. You must only determine that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is also required that at least one spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months and that the marriage is legally established to begin with. One exception to the residency requirement is if you are a military family whose permanent residence is in Florida but you have been stationed elsewhere.
The Divorce Process
Once you have established that you are eligible to divorce under Florida law, you can begin the divorce process. First, one party must file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. The petitioner (the spouse who files for divorce) must then give a copy of the petition to the respondent (the other party in the marriage). This is what is commonly known as “serving divorce papers”.
If both you and your spouse agree to the divorce, he or she may accept delivery of the papers. The spouse will then need to fill out and notarize a different form called an Answer and Waiver of Service, which must be signed and notarized before it is submitted. When both parties agree to the divorce and all terms, this is what is known as an uncontested divorce.
If the spouse is not agreeable to the dissolution of marriage, the process becomes more complicated.
If your spouse refuses to accept the divorce paperwork or does not agree to all the terms, the process becomes more complicated. In this situation, you may have the sheriff of the county in which your spouse resides serve the papers on him or her.
A contested divorce may also occur when the two parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce, such as the separation of marital assets or a shared parenting plan. In this case, you will need to obtain legal representation to come up with the marital settlement agreement, and a court hearing will be required.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
In some cases, you may be eligible for a simplified dissolution of marriage. A simplified dissolution of marriage requires fewer forms and is typically cheaper and quicker than a regular dissolution.
To qualify, Florida law requires that the marriage meet the following criteria:
- Both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and agree to the simplified dissolution of marriage
- Both parties agree on how to divide the marital assets
- At least one party has resided in the state of Florida for at least 6 months
- There are no minor children, including adopted children who are under the age of 18
- Neither spouse is pregnant
- Neither party is seeking alimony
Divorce When There are Minor or Dependent Children
Where is a minor child involved, a child custody agreement must be reached. The child’s welfare is always the number one consideration in determining custody and a shared parenting plan. In some cases, one spouse may be required to make child support payments to the other spouse. A legal professional can help create a parenting plan and outline parental responsibility for each party.
When determining the amount of child support, the following will be considered:
- the number of minor children that need support
- expenses and the child(ren)’s needs
- the parent’s economic circumstances and ability to pay child support
Frequently Asked Questions About a Florida Divorce
Is it possible to divorce in Florida if one spouse has not lived there for at least six months before filing?
Yes. Florida statutes only require one spouse to reside in Florida for at least six months.
How much does it cost to get divorced in Florida?
The cost to divorce your spouse varies greatly depending on each situation. For a simplified divorce, you can get through the entire process by filing the paperwork with the circuit court clerk’s office for less than $500.
If the divorce gets messy and the two parties struggle to agree on the terms, the price can go up into the tens of thousands of dollars.
How long will the divorce process take?
Depending on whether or not the divorce is contested, it can take anywhere from three months to two years to complete the entire legal process for a Florida divorce. A simplified divorce can be quick, but one where there are disagreements about property division, child custody, spousal support, or other issues, it will require more time to complete the written settlement agreement and come to a final hearing.
How can I get an alimony award?
In determining whether to grant alimony, the Court must determine that the party requesting alimony has a financial need and that the other spouse has the financial resources to pay. The judge will also consider the length of the marriage. The shorter the marriage, the less likely it is that the court will award alimony to one spouse. Many other factors may be considered. Your attorney can help you through the process of determining the likelihood of receiving alimony.
Can I get divorced without a lawyer?
If you are filing a simplified dissolution of marriage, it is possible to get divorced without an attorney. However, divorce laws can be complicated. Family law attorneys are well-qualified to represent their clients in Florida courts, and obtaining a great lawyer can ensure that the final judgment is fair.
In many cases, the cost of legal fees when you obtain a great family law attorney from the start will be much less than what you may end up paying to get out of a messy and complicated situation if you try to divorce without representation.
How Bragg Family Law Can Help
Adam and Rebekah Bragg are both experienced family law attorneys who can help with many issues, including how to divorce in Florida. The lawyers at Bragg Family Law Firm represent clients in all types of Family Law cases including divorce, collaborative divorce, alimony, child custody and timesharing, paternity and father’s rights, division of assets and liabilities, and modifications of Judgments or Orders.