Divorce Process in Florida
For most people, the divorce process can seem daunting. This is understandable since divorce often means a lengthy and contentious period of legal disputes. However, the more you understand the divorce process in Florida, the better prepared you will be to go through it no matter the nature of your specific divorce.
How to File for Divorce in Florida
The following steps summarize the process for divorce in Florida:
File Petition - The divorce process starts when one spouse files a petition for the dissolution of marriage. The spouse who files for divorces is called the petitioner.
Answer Petition - The spouse that receives the petition for divorce must respond within 20 days. This spouse is called the respondent. At this point, either spouse can make various requests including protective orders, restraining orders, and/or temporary orders involving child custody, child support, and/or spousal support.
Discovery Process - During this time, a variety of information is gathered that is important to the outcome of the divorce. For example, knowledge of each party’s financial information can help determine alimony and child support.
Mediation - If the spouses haven’t reached an agreement regarding the matters related to their divorce, then mediation might be necessary at this point.
Parenting Plan - If there are children involved in the divorce, then a parenting plan must be established. This includes agreements regarding timesharing, communication, various responsibilities, healthcare decisions, etc.
Trial (if needed) - If the spouses still have not come to an agreement on all matters related to their divorce, then they will go to trial before a judge, each with an attorney to represent their interests.
Finalize Divorce - At this point, either the judge will sign an “order of dissolution” to finalize the divorce or the petitioner’s lawyer will draft the final judgment and both parties will sign it.
Divorce Laws in Florida
Technically, divorce in Florida law is called “dissolution of marriage”. It is helpful to understand a few of Florida’s divorce laws so you know what to expect.
No-fault Divorce - Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means either party can file for divorce without a specific reason given. Stating that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” is sufficient grounds for divorce in Florida.
Equitable Division - The rule for property division in a Florida divorce is what the judge decides is fair. This could mean a 50/50 split, but it doesn’t have to. The judge will consider all relevant factors. While a spouse does not need to prove fault in the other spouse to get a divorce, sometimes misconduct like adultery can affect decisions regarding property division.
Simplified vs. Regular Dissolution of Marriage - A simplified dissolution of marriage is a faster divorce process. Couples qualify for a simplified dissolution if they don’t have any children or are not currently pregnant and if they agree to the terms of divorce. The process for a simplified dissolution consists of the couple signing a petition for simplified dissolution and attending the final hearing. A regular dissolution of marriage follows the process outlined above for a Florida divorce.
Parenting Class - Another requirement in Florida for divorcing couples with children is that they must take a court-approved parenting class.
Are You Getting a Divorce in Florida?
Are you planning to get divorced in Florida? Are there children involved? Learn more about Dr. Liliana Wolf’s DCF-approved online parenting class to meet Florida’s divorce requirements. With the course, you will get the following:
Instant certificate to submit to the court
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If a parenting class is required in the process for your divorce in Florida, make sure you get started today!