Should You File for Simplified Divorce?
Filing for divorce can be a stressful process. If you have read about or heard of Florida’s simplified divorce process, an alternative to the traditional divorce process, it may immediately seem tempting to select that route. But not everything simplified is in your best interests. Simplified divorce suits some couples far better than others, and using it if it is not the best choice for you and your family can lead to reducing or waiving your rights. When should you file for simplified divorce (or “dissolution of marriage,” as it is known in Florida)? Take a look at the list of criteria below.
Either Spouse Must Have Lived in Florida for More Than Six Months
It is not necessary that both spouses be Florida residents, but at least one spouse must be able to prove that they have lived in Florida or have had Florida residency for more than six months. Testimony in court by someone familiar with how long the spouses have lived in Florida, a valid Florida driver’s license, ID card, or voter registration card issued more than six months prior to filing for simplified divorce, or an affidavit (a sworn statement signed in the presence of a court clerk or a notary) can be used to prove residency.
Both You and Your Spouse Must Feel the Marriage Cannot Be Saved
Florida has “no-fault” divorce, meaning the end of the marriage does not have to be blamed upon either spouse. However, in order to divorce, the marriage must be irretrievably broken.
You and Your Spouse Must Not Have Any Minor Children Together
Even if you meet all the other qualifications, you and your spouse are ineligible for simplified divorce if you have minor or dependent children. This is true even if one spouse is not the parent of the child and even for yet-unborn children.
There Are No or Few Disputes Regarding the Division of Assets, Property, or Liabilities
Simplified divorce is only effective for both parties if they have already reached an agreement regarding how property, assets, and liabilities will be divided and both parties are satisfied with the division. This is important because simplified divorce involves both spouses giving up the right to go to trial and the right to appeal the divorce agreement.
Neither Spouse Is Seeking Alimony of Any Kind
Seeking alimony, even if just one spouse is doing so, renders the parties ineligible for simplified divorce.
You and Your Spouse Are Both Willing to Cooperate with One Another
Simplified divorce requires both spouses to appear at the final hearing at the same time, to be in agreement regarding the irredeemable state of the marriage, and, as mentioned above, be in agreement regarding the division of marital property. Couples that are unwilling or unable to reach agreements on these topics or cannot are ineligible for simplified divorce.
As shown by these criteria, filing for simplified divorce is only appropriate for a small subset of divorcing couples. If you are pursuing divorce or are considering filing for simplified divorce, think carefully on your decision. It may be wise to consult with an experienced divorce attorney for assistance and advice. At Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, qualified family law attorneys can assist you. Call 561-391-9943 today to schedule a consultation.