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What is the Legal Process of Divorce in Florida?

The state of Florida attempts to make the divorce process as simple and as stress free as possible. Divorce is never easy, so it is important to understand the entire process before you go through it. This article will take you through the steps that should be completed during the process of a divorce. It is also important to know that one of the spouses must have been a resident of Florida for at least 6 months to file for divorce in the state.

No two divorce cases are the same and navigating through this process can be difficult. It is not recommended you go into a divorce proceeding with the mindset “I can do it all.” An experienced Florida divorce attorney can help you navigate the treacherous waters of the Florida divorce process.

The divorce process in Florida

Before filing for divorce in Florida
There are usually only two reasons a judge will grant a divorce in Florida. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must state that either the marriage is inevitably broken, or that one of the spouses is mentally incapable of remaining in the marriage.

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 usually receive the dissolution of marriage papers from a service.

The divorce is filed with the court
The divorce will most likely be handled in the Circuit Court for the county that you live in. The court should 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 should 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.

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