How divorce works in Florida
Deciding to get a divorce can be a scary thing. However, actually going through the divorce process can be even scarier. By understanding the process, you can feel less intimidated about the undertaking. Learn all about how divorce works in Florida.
An Overview of the Divorce Process
Every circuit in Florida has different divorce requirements. However, the process is similar within each circuit. Here’s a step-by-step look at what you can expect from your divorce:
1. Deciding Your Type of Divorce
In Florida, you have an option to simplify your divorce. You might be able to file for a simplified dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce is only appropriate for individuals who agree on the division of their assets. Additionally, they need to have no minor children and ask for no alimony.
When you go through this type of divorce, you give up your rights to financial statements and cross examining your partner. If you want to maintain your rights, then you need to consider a regular dissolution of marriage.
2. Preparing the Paperwork
Whether or not you work with a lawyer for your divorce, you need to file paperwork. More specifically, you need to fill out a dissolution of marriage form.
As you fill out the paperwork, you should keep in mind that Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Therefore, you only need to prove that your marriage is broken or that, for at least three years, one spouse was mentally incapacitated. Your petition should include details like child custody, alimony payments, and the division of your assets.
It’s important that you file the paperwork in the county in which you reside. Before you file, you need to be a resident in that county for six months or longer. You also need to notarize your petition as well as pay the filing fee.
3. Serving the Papers
After you file your petition, you need to serve your partner. You might be able to use the sheriff’s office to serve the papers. Or, you might need to use a process server.
Once your partner receives the papers, you have 45 days to give your spouse a financial affidavit. You need to disclose a long list of financial information, including tax returns and bank statements.
4. Mediation or Court
Florida is home to many cities, like Miami, that rank highly for high divorce rates. Many of those divorces end in mediation. During mediation, you and your spouse come together to discuss the terms of the divorce. Each individual needs to agree on the terms. If there are any disputes, the you need to settle them in court.
In many situations, a court-resolved divorce can take many months. The Florida court system is busy. For that reason, you could wait six months or longer for your court date.
This leaves your divorce in the hands of a judge. When your court date arrives, you might need to deal with expert witnesses and depositions. The final decisions is based upon the strength of your case and the opinion of the judge.
Getting a Florida Divorce
When a divorce in Florida is a simplified dissolution of marriage, the process is straightforward. However, other cases have more moving parts.
No divorce is the same. If you have any questions about how your divorce could work, you should consult a Miami divorce lawyer.
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