In Florida, the legal term for a divorce is “dissolution of marriage.” The two simple requirements to dissolve a marriage are: 1) one party must be a Florida resident for more than six months prior to filing and 2) one party must allege under oath that the marriage irretrievably broken. Each divorce encompasses a different set of circumstances. Important issues include: the length of the marriage, the age and number of children, the parties’ assets and liabilities accumulated prior to or during the marriage, domestic violence and the parties’ anticipated future needs after the divorce is final.
The process generally begins with filing a petition for dissolution in the county where the parties lived with the intent to remain married. The filing fee is approximately $400. The petition is served on the opposing spouse by sheriff’s deputy. The receiving spouse has 20 days to file an answer or a response to the petition. If the parties have minor children, the receiving spouse may request marriage counseling. Otherwise the parties exchange financial affidavits and evidence of their current finances. They must complete an on-line parenting course if they have minor children. Once the required documents have been exchanged and filed the court will order mediation. Many cases resolve at mediation and a marital settlement agreement is drawn up and filed with the court.The marital settlement agreement becomes part of the Final Judgment of Dissolution- the name for the court order dissolving the marriage. In other cases, the parties must go to the courthouse to have the judge decide the issues.
The entire process can take from several weeks to months and it can be an emotional and confusing time. The statutory requirements are best navigated by a skilled family law attorney, who can provide guidance and support.
The experienced family law attorneys at Rice & Rose offer a customized approach to your divorce. Please call us at (386) 257-1222 for a consultation. We care about you and your family.