Florida statutes establish the manner in which marriages can be terminated in the Sunshine State. The type of divorce pursued in Florida depends upon the specific circumstances of the parties who desire to end their marriage. The two types of divorce in Florida are regular and simplified.
Essential Requirements of Any Florida Divorce
Despite the fact that there exist three types of divorce in Florida, there are a number of essential requirements that must be met no matter the derivation of divorce pursued. These basic requirements are set forth in Florida divorce law.
Although this may seem obvious, in order for a divorce proceeding to occur, the parties must lawfully be married. If it is discovered after the filing for divorce that no lawful marriage exists, the case will be dismissed.
This turn of events may seem to satisfy the objective of ending the marriage. However, in such a situation, the court will not have jurisdiction to deal with associated issues like custody, division of assets and debts and other matters.
Another essential element of divorce in Florida is that one spouse must reside in the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. The residency requirement gives the court jurisdiction over the case.
Finally, no matter the type of divorce pursued, the parties must demonstrate that the marriage is irretrievably broken. What this means is that there is nothing either party can do to rectify the situation. The objectives of marriage can no longer be met due to the state of the relationship between the spouses.
No matter the type of divorce, marriage dissolution proceedings are conducted in circuit courts in the Florida court system.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
A simplified divorce is available if a specific set of criteria is met. This type of divorce arguably can be handled by the spouses without the need for legal representation. However, the better part of wisdom may lead a divorcing couple to seek advice from a best lawyer when involved in a simplified divorce. Read more If you want to know what type of question you ask to you lawyer.
In order to qualify for a simplified divorce, there can be no children born during the marriage. In addition, the wife cannot be pregnant at the time the case if filed.
Another requirement for a simplified divorce is that both spouses must complete what is known as a Financial Affidavit. This must be completed by both parties even if they do not have any real assets or debts to speak of at the time they seek to end their marriage.
In addition, the parties must prepare and submit a property settlement agreement to the court. This also must occur even if the parties have no assets or debts to divide between them.
Finally, in order to qualify for a simplified divorce, both parties must appear in court at the final divorce hearing. It is at this proceeding that a judge formally grants the parties a divorce.
Read More – Is Mediation the Right Choice for My Divorce?
The clerk of a specific Florida circuit court typically maintains the forms and paperwork necessary to pursue this type of marriage dissolution case. These forms usually are available both in the brick can mortar world office of the circuit court clerk as well as online.
Regular Dissolution of Marriage
A regular dissolution of marriage is the type of divorce available when the circumstances between the parties are more complicated. For example, this is the type of divorce utilized in Florida when the couple has children.
Although a regular dissolution of marriage is a more complicated and often times a more time consuming form of divorce, this type of divorce can be either contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties reach an agreement as to the issues and disputes between them. They enter into a settlement agreement that is submitted to the judge for approval.
In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to reason a resolution of some or even all of the issues pending between them. In such a case, hearings may be held to resolve some matters. A divorce trial may be conducted to address any number of issues that remain unresolved as the case progresses through the system.
The parties must submit a Financial Affidavit in a regular divorce case. This must be filed with the court within 45 days of the respondent being served with divorce papers by the petitioner. This must be done even if the parties have no real assets or debts.
As is the case with a simplified divorce, both parties must attend the final divorce hearing. In some cases, this will be the court setting at which many of the issues are resolved if no agreement previously is reached between the parties.
Meet with a Good Tampa Divorce Lawyer
Technically speaking, a divorcing couple is not required to retain an attorney, even in a regular divorce case. However, more often than not, the interests of a party to a divorce are best protected through representation by an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer.