The time it takes for a divorce to be finalized varies with every individual. If the divorce is uncontested, meaning both spouses agree on everything, it can take as little as 4 weeks. In a contested divorce the court has to decide on what the spouses don’t agree on. These divorces can take 6 months or longer.
What is the first step in getting a divorce in Florida?
The first step is filing a document called Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court. This document outlines the claims you have for property and child custody and must be delivered to the other spouse. If you have children, the state of Florida also requires you to attend a seminar on children and divorce.
The Divorce Process in Florida
One of the spouse files for divorce
The spouse filing for divorce is called the Petitioner. They are the one who initiates the procedure with the family law or domestic relations court.
The other spouse receives the divorce papers
The spouse who did not file for divorce is called the Respondent. This spouse will receive the dissolution of marriage papers from a service.
The divorce is filed with the court
The divorce will be handled in the Circuit Court for the county that you live in. The court will assign your divorce a case number and will have jurisdictional rights to grant orders concerning your property, debt division, support, custody, and visitation.
Primary documents are completed and filed
Documents such as the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage are filed. The documents start and finalize the divorce in Florida, along with ten to 20 other documents. The County Clerk’s office will manage all of your paperwork and keep both parties and lawyers informed throughout the process.
Property is divided and distributed
Marital property is always divided equally in the state of Florida. Florida is an, “equitable distribution” state so judges always divide property in the fairest and most equal way.
Spousal support it determined
Spousal support is decided on a case by case basis so not all divorces require spousal support.
Child custody and support is granted
The state of Florida always strives to do what is best for the children involved and typically grants shared custody and only grants sole custody when it’s in the best interest of the child. Child support is based on the amount of income each parent makes. Income is usually verified by examining past W-2’s and with child support worksheets.