Divorce Laws and Proceedings

Posted in Florida Family Law on February 17, 2017

A divorce is known as “Termination of marriage” in Florida.

Florida is a “no –fault” state. If you want to get divorced, the Florida divorce court will do just that. There is a little used provision in Florida divorce law that allows a judge to stay the proceedings (i.e., place the entire case “on hold) for 6 months.  It is rarely done (only once in my career by a very religious judge that did not condone divorce).

If you are seeking a divorce, you and your spouse will divide your property, debts and deal with the children, if any.  In dividing your property, keep in mind that that the word to remember is EQUITY – do what is fair under the circumstances.  If you cannot agree on how to divide property and debt, the Florida divorce judge assigned to your case will, in all likelihood, just divide it into equal piles and send you and your spouse on your way.  You are always better off taking matters into your own hands.  Why would you want a Florida family law judge who knows nothing about you to divide your property – this makes no sense.

Proceedings to Receive a Divorce in Florida:

  • Simplified divorce

Florida simplified divorce occurs when both spouses are in agreement about getting divorced and:

  1. They enter into a marital settlement agreement;
  2. No children and the wife is NOT pregnant;
  3. Both appear in court for the final hearing. This is a reason that a simplified divorce NOT so simple.  You will BOTH need to take time off from work and go to court together, hang around for what seems like an eternity and talk to the judge assigned to your case for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Uncontested Divorce

You and your spouse ARE IN AGREEMENT on all issues that include:

  1. Division of marital property and debt;
  2. Child-related issues including “custody” (not a term used in Florida divorce law any longer but we understand what you mean), parenting plan (visitation) and child support;
  3. Alimony, if any.

Tell us your agreement (we will ask a lot of questions) and we will prepare ALL required divorce requirements Florida documents for you and your spouse to sign, notarize and return.  Your case will be filed and you will be divorced about 30 days later. No kids means NO court hearing.  Although you can stay out of court if you have kids we DO NOT recommend that option – call for details.

If you have kids, a short final hearing (about 3 minutes will be required) but only the person filing needs to attend.  Short, sweet and divorced!!

  • Contested divorce

You and your spouse ARE NOT IN AGREEMENT on one or more issues.  Here’s how it works in this case:

  1. We will file a petition for Florida divorce and have your spouse served (usually takes about a week after the clerk issues the summons);
  2. Spouse MUST respond within 20 days of being served with Florida divorce papers;
  3. If no response, we will ask the clerk to enter a default and the case will be set for final hearing. If no property, debt or child(ren), this will done in about a week after a default judgment is entered.  If there is property, debt or child(ren), then the hearing time depends on the judge’s procedures for dealing with this type of case.  Every judge in every county has a different procedure and we know them all.

Some Other Stuff to Know About:

  1. If you want to get a Florida divorce, we will get you a Florida divorce so long as you meet the jurisdictional requirements (one party is a Florida resident for at least 6 months PRIOR to filing date). Objection by spouse to divorce is not going to stop the process.
  2. Legal Separation? No such thing in Florida, although you can always file for support without dissolution, should the need arise.
  3. Most Florida divorce lawyers charge by the hour. We do not; rather, we charge a flat fee for all services provided.