The state of Florida allows you to file for divorce on your own. If you are considering this approach, you will want to understand how the process works. The entire divorce process can go quickly if your circumstances are right, but you and your spouse will need to agree on everything for this to be the case. If you do not agree on everything and are unable to seek an “uncontested” divorce, you can expect the whole process to take much longer.
File For Divorce In Florida
- Understand residency requirements – Florida will only divorce you if you or your spouse are a resident of the state for at least six months. It is important that you meet this requirement because otherwise your case will be denied – either when you submit it or while it is being processed.
- Decide what kind of divorce to get – The paperwork and the process for divorce can vary significantly based on your circumstances. You want to get clear about what kind of divorce you are seeking before you begin filling out forms. The simplest kind of divorce in Florida is a simplified dissolution of marriage. To file for divorce using this simplified process, you must meet a number of requirements. You cannot have any minor children or dependent children, you must agree on how all your assets, debts and property will be divided up, you must both agree that the marriage needs to end and neither of you can be seeking alimony. If you meet all of these requirements you can seek a simplified dissolution of marriage – arguably the fastest and easiest form of divorce in Florida. Not everyone meets the above requirements. However, if you and your spouse are still in agreement on all aspects of your divorce and wish to seek an uncontested divorce, you can still go through a fairly streamlined process with an uncontested regular dissolution of marriage. If you are not in agreement with your spouse and expect to fight for your position, you will probably need a divorce attorney to file for a divorce while protecting the things that are important to you.
- File your paperwork – Now that you know what kind of divorce you want, you can either request the appropriate paperwork from your county clerk and fill it out yourself, or you can take our questionnaire here at CompleteCase to generate the appropriate forms – filled out correctly – to present to the clerk. Our process if quick, easy and affordable. It will also guarantee that you choose the right forms for your needs and that mistakes are avoided in the filing process. Submit your completed paperwork to the county clerk to begin the divorce process.
- Wait for your spouse to be served – If you are seeking a regular dissolution of marriage and your spouse did not submit the paperwork with you, expect to wait a while for the court to serve the divorce paperwork to your spouse. Once he or she receives it, the court will wait 20 days to hear a response from him or her. Your spouse can respond however he or she sees fit, including contesting the claims made in your documents.
- Go through court appearance(s) – If your spouse does disagree with the dissolution or has issues with what you filed, expect one or more visits to the court together to discuss the matter. The state of Florida wants you and your spouse to come to an agreement on all matters so you can have an uncontested divorce – saving you and the state time and money. If you are unable to do so you can expect to go to trial to argue your case, at which point hiring a divorce attorney is definitely recommended.
- Have the divorce finalized – Florida can finalize your divorce fairly quickly if all requirements are met. If your divorce is simplified or uncontested, you can expect finalization in a timely manner. - possibly even withing four to five weeks. If you and your spouse need to go to trial, you can probably expect to spend six months to a year going through the process.
How long this takes will depend on the county you are filing in – with busier counties taking sometimes much longer than their less busy counterparts. It will also depend on how many issues there are for you and your spouse to work through. The bigger the disagreements, the longer the divorce can be expected to take.