helping you in family Law
What Is An Uncontested Divorce?
Many divorce cases look like this: the couple is in agreement that the marriage should be dissolved, but they aren’t necessarily in agreement around the terms of how the divorce should occur, such as how to divide marital property. This is more of a traditional divorce case where you see divorce attorneys negotiating the divorce settlement on behalf of their client.
On the other hand, a divorce is considered uncontested when the parties agree to terms before the initial filing of the suit. They are typically on the same page around the dissolution of marriage, child custody of dependent children, the need (or lack thereof) for spousal support or child support, etc.
Regular Dissolution of Marriage
If you don’t meet the qualifications for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage under Florida law, you can still proceed with an uncontested divorce through a Regular Dissolution of Marriage. It may be slightly more time-consuming, but you will still be able to move through the divorce process fairly easily and more quickly than a contested divorce, and you may even be able to avoid a court appearance.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
The fastest route to an uncontested divorce in Florida is to have a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. To qualify for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage under Florida divorce law, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- both spouses are in support of an uncontested divorce
- both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- there are no minor children under the age of 18
- neither spouse is currently pregnant
- at least one party has lived in Florida for the last six months
- both parties agree on how to divide marital debt and assets
- neither spouse is seeking alimony
How Can an Attorney Help in an Uncontested Divorce?
If both parties support the marital settlement agreement, why would someone need to retain an attorney? After all, there is no requirement that someone hire an attorney to get divorced.
First, most people are not familiar with legal processes or procedures, much of which is still required in even the “easiest” of cases. Getting stuck in legal procedures can cause even the most amicable of divorces to take a long time.
Even in an amicable divorce situation, there are many legal documents required that must be drafted and filed in the Florida courts to complete a divorce. You must file the petition in the county where you and your spouse last lived, and you must pay the filing fees. Then you must give the petition to the other spouse, either by serving them with papers through your sheriff’s office or by having your spouse sign an Acceptance and Waiver of Service of Process by Sheriff. An attorney can help you navigate this process efficiently.
Secondly, uncontested divorces can and do go wrong. Parties may not be able to come to an agreement without the assistance of a mediator or through other dispute resolution mechanisms which would require both parties’ input. If you don’t have your own legal representation, it’s possible that you could miss an important detail about how certain assets should be divided.
Most importantly, just because the parties agree to something, doesn’t mean it is best for their family. Hiring a good divorce attorney does not equate to fighting it out in Court. Instead, it means hiring good legal “ounsel “hat can provide options and alternatives based on the specifics of that family. There very well may be another option that is even better for the family. Or, as Mr. Bragg sees too frequently, the parties are actually setting themselves up for failure, or more fighting later.
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With over 20 years of combined experience in family law, we know how to navigate the system to fight for what’s right. Let us fight for you.