SIMPLIFIED AND UNCONTESTED DIVORCES IN FLORIDA
By: Casey Jernigan King
There are two types of divorce under Florida law: a simplified dissolution of marriage, and a regular dissolution of marriage (which may be contested or uncontested), both of which are handled by the Florida circuit courts. In order to be eligible to obtain either type of divorce, the parties must establish that they are married, one spouse has resided in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce, and the marriage is irretrievably broken. Moreover, in simplified and uncontested regular divorce proceedings, spouses must be in agreement on all details, including, without limitation, division of money and assets, division of debt and liabilities, child custody, parenting arrangements, child support, division of personal items, and entitlement to tax exemptions.
Generally, spouses seeking a simplified divorce in Florida must meet the following criteria: (a) both spouses agree the marriage is irretrievably broken; (b) there are no minor children from the marriage; (c) the wife is not pregnant at the time of filing; (d) both spouses complete a financial affidavit, which is a written affirmation regarding property and finances, unless properly waived by the parties; (e) both spouses complete a property settlement agreement that settles all property issues (even if the spouses do not own property); and (f) both spouses appear at the final hearing, unless a formal hearing is properly waived by both parties. This option appeals to couples who wish to amicably end their marriage and are willing to cooperate with one another to that end.
In an uncontested regular dissolution of marriage, only one spouse (the petitioner) files for divorce against the other spouse (the respondent). Once served with the divorce petition, the respondent spouse must file a written answer. Similar to the simplified divorce, in an uncontested regular divorce, the spouses must execute a marital settlement agreement resolving all issues of marital property, marital debts, and minor children from the marriage. The spouses must also complete a financial affidavit within 45 days of service of the divorce petition. If there are minor children, an uncontested regular divorce will also include a detailed parenting plan. This type of divorce is extremely beneficial when properly executed, because the entire case is settled prior to filing the petition with the court; thus, such cases quickly proceed to finality, are much less complicated, and much more cost effective.
Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law can provide you with additional information and the firm offers a flat fee for your uncontested/simplified divorce case to help you and your spouse get through this process as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. www.HSMcLAW.com
Harrison Sale McCloy Attorneys at Law has offices in Panama City, Santa Rosa Beach and Destin. Their areas of practice include Association Law, Business & Commercial Law, Civil & Commercial Litigation, Elder Law, Employment Law, Family Law, Health & Hospital Law, Insurance Defense, Local Government, Mediation and Dispute Resolution, Probate & Estate Planning, Tax Law, Real Estate & Land Use and Wealth Preservation. Since 1984 Harrison Sale McCloy has represented and advised businesses, local government and individuals throughout Northwest Florida.
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