How to File for Divorce in Florida, 9E

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But for most when a marriage is on the rocks, both parties may be considering filing for divorce. Clients coming in for an initial consultation about getting divorced will ask in many instances the following questions:.

Does it matter that I file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage first? What are the advantages if any of being the Petitioner person who files versus the Respondent person who gets served with divorce papers? Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to provide a reason why the party no longer want to be married.

It does not matter to the judge or the Florida Family Law Lawyer who filed the paperwork first, and it does not give you an advantage legally. It is important to consider that deciding to get divorced is one the most life altering decisions that a person can make and should be considered carefully.

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Talking to an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process and can provide reasonable expectations for you moving forward is the best first step that a person considering divorce can take. If you are the person who has been served, take solace in knowing that the checkered flag of this race to the courthouse is just the beginning of the entire process.

When dividing debt, couples should consider who is responsible for the debt, who is keeping any property that is securing the debt, and who is better able to pay the debt. Distributing a debt to a spouse who is unable to pay it does neither party any good. If you want a Simplified Divorce, then you must come to an agreement about how debts are divided. Child custody. If you have minor children, you will need to agree on who will have physical custody who the child will live with and who will have legal custody who will make decisions for the child regarding schooling, religion, and extracurricular activities.

Child support. The state of Florida provides child support worksheets so that parties may calculate child support in the same manner that the courts do. Parenting time. If there is a large disparity in income between the spouses, then Florida courts will often award alimony, at least for a limited amount of time. Alimony can be extended, where one spouse needs support while gaining additional education or where the spouse cannot take care of him or herself. Hire an attorney. A simplified divorce has been structured so that you don't need a lawyer.

However, if you are going through a regular dissolution because you have children or because you disagree about alimony or the division of property, then you need a lawyer. Only a qualified attorney can adequately protect your rights in a divorce. To find a competent divorce lawyer, you should contact your state's bar association, which runs a referral program. Call Monday through Friday, am to pm. Satisfy the prerequisites. In order to get a simplified divorce, the following must apply.

Otherwise, you will have to get a regular divorce. The wife is not pregnant and you do not have children together under age 18 or who are otherwise dependent. The two of you reach agreement on how to divide all marital property. You also agree on how to divide liabilities. No alimony will be sought.

At least one spouse has been a state resident for six months. Both spouses realize and agree that there will not be a divorce trial, nor will either be able to seek an appeal. Obtain divorce forms. Your county's Self-Help center should have forms for a simplified divorce that you can purchase.


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You can stop into the self-help center on Monday-Friday, am pm. You need a photo ID each time you visit the Self-Help center. Fill out the necessary form. To get a simplified divorce, you will need to complete a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Either type the information requested or write neatly in black ink. Once you finish, you can ask someone at the Self-Help center to review the form, though no one at the center will fill out the form for you. After having your petition reviewed, you should make a copy for your spouse. Complete a marital settlement agreement.

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You will need to complete a Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage and present it to the court. Fortunately, the Florida Supreme Court has approved a form that you can use. You can get a copy at the self-help center or download it from the Florida Courts Family Law Forms website. You must include information about the property that will be given to each spouse.

This property will include financial instruments like stocks and insurance as well as real property and vehicles. You should have the agreement notarized. Note that the marital settlement agreement is not a deed. You must transfer title through an appropriate legal document, such as a deed.

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File the divorce application. Take the application and the marital settlement agreement to the clerk of court. Both spouses must go to the clerk's office in order to file. You both must bring a valid photo identification. You should check with the court clerk to see if both spouses must go together. Miami-Dade County, for example, requires that both spouses file the petition together. Bring a witness to corroborate residency. You need someone to corroborate that at least one partner has lived in Florida for at least six months.

How To Get a Divorce In Florida If You Can’t Find Your Spouse – FL Lawyer Linda Gruszynski explains

This witness must bring a valid photo identification. A notarized certificate from the witness, rather than a personal appearance, is also acceptable. Pay a filing fee. The cost of a simplified divorce is set by statute and may change in any given year. Locate the correct court.

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Steps in a Divorce - FLH

You must file for divorce in the circuit court of the county where you last lived as a married couple or in the county where either spouse currently resides. Fill out a dissolution of marriage petition. You initiate divorce proceedings by filing a petition with the court. In the petition, you ask the court for the divorce.

Either spouse may file the petition. You should download them as they make the process much easier. The different petitions are for: a divorce without children or property, a divorce with property but no children, and a divorce with children. Complete additional forms. File the petition. Take the completed petition, as well as any supporting documentation, to the clerk of court. Ask to file.

How To File For Divorce In Florida [7-Step Guide]

You will also have to pay a fee. Serve notice on your spouse. Once you file the divorce petition, you need to provide your spouse with notice. He or she will then have 20 days to answer the petition. You cannot serve by mail or hand delivery. If you know where your spouse lives, then you can have personal service completed. You should fill out a Summons and a Process Service Memorandum, both of which are available from the court clerk.

To complete them, you will need your spouse's home and work address. Once you complete the forms, ask the clerk to schedule personal service with the sheriff. If your spouse lives in the same county as the court, then you can have the local sheriff serve notice for a fee.

Florida Divorce FAQ and Checklist

The fee can only be paid with cashier's check or a money order. You must also include a self-addressed stamped envelope. After service, the sheriff will use the envelope to send you proof of service. If your spouse lives in a different county, then the clerk will send the papers to the sheriff in the other county, who will then make service.

Personal service is recommended.

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