Understanding Divorce in Florida
What to Expect When Getting a Divorce
If you and your spouse have decided or are thinking about getting a divorce, it can be a confusing and long process. In Florida, divorce is known as dissolution of marriage and there are different types of dissolution dependant on your circumstances. The process for each type and the outcomes are different. Below is a summary to help you understand the basics of getting a divorce and what options are available to you.
Petitioning for Dissolution of Marriage in Florida requires at least one person from the marriage to be a Florida resident for at least six months. The average cost of divorce in Florida can vary depending on the type of divorce and the circumstances between the divorcing party.
Types of Divorce in Florida
One type of divorce is uncontested where both parties agree upon all the issues involved in the dissolution of marriage. The parties will disclose all relevant information with a lawyer. Once both spouses agree to all issues on a Marital Settlement Agreement and it is presented to the Florida Court System, their divorce is final.
If during this settlement agreement one of the spouses is not able to agree with something, then the process is restarted with a contested divorce.
A contested divorce starts with a petition filed with the Florida Courts and outlines any financial support or relief that person would like to have. After the paperwork is filed by one spouse, the other spouse has 20 days to respond and file a counter-petition if they want. After the spouses have approved the petition, both parties have an average of 45 days to provide a financial affidavit. This is a statement that will include your expenses, income, assets and liabilities you currently have.
If either person is struggling to resolve the issues on the petition, a mediation will be arranged to help resolve this without a trial. After mediation, if there are still unresolved issues then these will be determined by a judge at court. Each person will be given the opportunity to present evidence to provide the judge with what the best course of action should be.
Children and Divorce
It is required in Florida that parents attend a parenting course that shows how divorce can affect their children. The court will determine child custody for each parent based on the best interests of the child. Any child support amount will be determined for minor children when the parenting plan is created. The parenting plan includes how the parents will share the responsibilities of taking care of the child and how the child will be spending time with both of the parents.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Another type of divorce that is often less costly and less time consuming than attending mediation or a trial is a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. A marriage can be eligible for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage if:
- Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- There are no minor children
- The assets and liabilities have already been divided and agreed upon
- Neither person is seeking alimony
- You are giving up your right to trial and appeal
- You and your spouse are both willing to go to the same final hearing
It is not necessary to have a lawyer in this case, but it is recommended to ensure that all the paperwork is completed and filed properly to prevent delays and additional costs.
Will Adultery Affect the Outcome of My Divorce
Florida does not have fault-based divorce. The only way to show the need for divorce is that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that one of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for three years. You can prove your marriage is irretrievably broken if:
- One person committed adultery
- One person was emotionally or physically abusive
- One spouse abandoned the other for at least six months prior to filing for divorce
- Both spouses have lived separately for more than a year
The caring lawyers at LaFrance Law understand that each case calls for a unique approach to reach the best possible resolution. Contact us via the sidebar form on the right or by giving us a call at (813) 930-5542.