Divorce Requirements in Florida
Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes contains all of the divorce requirements in order to obtain your divorce judgment. Steven D. Miller, P.A. and his team understand these requirements fully and can provide thorough online divorce assistance.
Florida Divorce Requirements
In a nutshell, Florida divorce requirements can be summed up as follows:
- All that is required to obtain dissolution of marriage is that the marriage be “irretrievably broken.” Either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage.
- You OR your spouse must meet the residency requirement: One of you (DOES NOT matter which one) MUST be a resident of Florida for at least 6 months prior to filing the case with the clerk. Residency is proven by the filing of your current/valid Florida license, voter’s registration or the filing of an affidavit from someone who knows you and how long you have resided in Florida (give us the information and we will prepare the affidavit).
- You and your spouse must exchange financial affidavits without exception.
- For those with property and/or children, a Marital Settlement Agreement is required. The agreement will set forth how you and your spouse will divide property, debt, alimony and deal with all child related issues, if any.
- One of the simplest areas of divorce in Florida is the division of marital property and liabilities – debts. Marital property may include cars, houses, retirement benefits, pensions, business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property, and other things of value. Liabilities include mortgages, car loans, credit card accounts, and other debts. Generally, any asset or liability acquired during the marriage is considered marital and subject to distribution and must be accounted for in your divorce paperwork.
- Mediation – a settlement conference – is an informal procedure to assist you and your spouse in working out an arrangement for reaching settlement without a lengthy court battle or trial. Mediation helps couples resolve problems and arrive at agreeable terms on the pertinent issues. Again, it’s not rocket science but sometimes it takes a neutral 3rd party, the mediator, to help seal the deal. Most counties have mediation services through the clerk’s office which provide services at a very fair cost. Depending on your combined income, whether you reside in Orlando, West Palm Beach or any other Florida city, a private mediator may be required. If so, there are many who do so for a very fair fee.
- If you are the victim of domestic violence, repeat violence, or sexual violence, you should contact the office of the family law clerk of the circuit court in your county or the local domestic violence shelter for information and assistance.
What to Decide Before Filing for Divorce
Divorce isn’t the solution to every problem. Fights and dissents are common in every family. Divorce will have a negative impact on your children and it may hamper your emotional well-being for a long period of time. So, instead of seeking divorce in the very beginning, consider talking to your partner. It may seem impossible but a divorce lawyer can help you with that as well. Divorce requirements are complex but must be followed in order for your lawyer to properly prepare all required legal documents for your divorce.
Before filing divorce, you must decide the nature of divorce – whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is the one in which both the partners settle everything between them, whereas a contested divorce is the one in which they fail to settle one or more issues; perhaps, division of property/debt, child custody, who gets the dog, etc.
All property or debt acquired during marriage is usually marital property although there are exceptions to this and most other general rules. You can divide it any way you wish. If you can’t do it on your own, in all likelihood the court will make equal piles out of each and send you on your way.
Uncontested Divorce in Florida
Your Lawyer MUST listen to your needs and provide information so that you can make informed decisions. A lawyers job is to tell their client what they NEED to know, NOT what they want to hear. Unfortunately, many do the latter.
A competent divorce lawyer MUST know the law that includes the Florida statutes, Florida rules of family court and the case law (i.e., how appellate courts have interpreted or applied the law to certain facts). Though every case is different, the case law gives us a very good incite into what will happen should the case go to trial.
Make sure your lawyer possesses the requisite ability to get to the “heart of the matter’ quickly and cost effectively. If not, you will get frustrated and look for a new lawyer. Ask question and, more importantly, make sure you understand the answers. No legal mumbo/jumbo. Plain English is always best!
Doing nothing is the worst thing possible because you will most assuredly become frustrated and upset with your lawyer. Steven Miller does not charge a fee to talk – ever – so you should not feel any financial reason not to call.
Do it yourself is not the best way to go. Paralegals are not lawyers and are prohibited from giving legal advice of any sort. Court clerks are not lawyers and can only sell you a package of forms – no legal advice! A lawyers job is to tell the client what they NEED to know.