Florida Divorce Process
The process of a divorce in Florida usually starts with one spouse filing a petition for divorce against the other. Depending on the circumstances, a divorce can be uncontested, simplified or can even be a contested regular or high-asset divorce.
A Basic Florida divorce process is highlighted below:
- File petition for divorce – First, you or your lawyer will determine the county you should file in. You should file for divorce in the county where you live, and where you have resided for at least six months prior to filing . If you meet the criteria for a simplified divorce, you and your
spouse may not require an attorney, however, many couples hire an attorney even when the divorce is uncontested or simplified.
- If your divorce does not meet the simplified divorce criteria, then your case will be a regular dissolution of marriage. A divorce petition is drawn up by yours or your spouse’s divorce attorney. The person who files is called the “petitioner.” Usually, the petitioner will ask for many things in their petition, because in Florida, if you do not ask for something in a petition, you cannot receive it. The petition, together with the required forms will be “served” upon the “respondent.”
- The respondent, will have 20 days to answer the petition. If you have been served with divorce papers unfortunately, time will not appear to be on your side. You must act quickly to determine if you can hire a divorce attorney to represent you. Take advantage of a free initial consultation with a Florida divorce attorney in your area who can provide you with sound advice. > Free initial consultation with Divorce Attorney Wendy Doyle-Palumbo Pasco or Hernando County, Florida
- If you have filed for divorce, your divorce lawyer will have already instructed you about what type of information you will need to gather, and what to expect in the process such as financial disclosures and affidavits, child support guidelines, mediation, etc.
What Must Be Settled in a Florida Divorce
The Florida divorce process at a minimum focuses on settling the following matters between the respondent and defendant in cases where children and property are a factor.
- Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets
- Child Custody and Time Sharing (Parenting Plans)
- Child Support
- Name Changes
The petition for dissolution of marriage may also ask the courts for other types of relief prior to the final hearing such as petitions for temporary relief for alimony, child support or other financial relief or protection. The courts regularly look at tax considerations as well as attorney fees and parents are now required to attend parenting classes
Note: High Asset divorces can go beyond the scope of common division of assets. If litigated, these cases can be challenging. Be sure to hire an experienced high asset divorce and family law trial lawyer to represent you.