What are my Options for a Divorce in Florida?
People often assume that a divorce will be a lengthy and expensive process, but there are times when spouses can agree on everything, making it possible to simplify and expedite the divorce. Uncontested divorces can be a simplified dissolution of marriage or a regular dissolution.
Qualifications for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Not every couple will qualify for a ‘simplified dissolution of marriage.’ To be eligible, the spouses must meet these requirements:
- Wife cannot be pregnant
- There cannot be any children under 18, even adopted
- Neither spouse is demanding spousal support
- Both spouses agree to a division of assets and debts
- Both spouses want a divorce and agree the marriage is broken
This type of divorce is best suited for couples who prefer to end their relationship amicably and will work together to finalize everything. Both spouses are required to complete a “Financial Affidavit” and a property settlement agreement, even if you don’t have any property. Both spouses are also required to attend a final divorce hearing.
In some cases, a simplified dissolution could be resolved in under a month, which is an encouragement for couples who can qualify for this type of divorce. One of the most common reasons people do not qualify for a simplified dissolution is because they have children. Although they are not eligible for a simplified dissolution, the couple can still expedite things in some situations.
The other type of divorce is a regular dissolution, and it can be contested or uncontested. By law, dissolutions are either regular or simplified, but they can morph along the way as the case proceeds. In theory, this means they could remain simplified, be uncontested, become a default, or be contested.
Couples can opt for an uncontested divorce when they want to no longer be married and can reach an agreement about the following issues:
- Distribution of assets and debts
- Alimony, including the duration and amount
- Child custody, visitation, and child support
The couple needs to reach this agreement in writing through the use of a ‘marital settlement agreement,’ which is also called a divorce settlement. Spouses are required to file a financial affidavit within 45 days of serving the paperwork, even if there is no property.
Like the simplified dissolution, both spouses are required to attend the final divorce hearing. There are some counties and courts that allow you to check the “no hearing” option, but it is not recommended in cases where there is a child. In cases involving a minor child, the law stipulates both spouses must attend a four hour online parenting course — even in uncontested divorces.
Hiring a Florida Family Law Attorney
Even if you are planning to file for a simplified dissolution, you might find yourself running into issues or have questions you need answered. It’s best to at least meet with a knowledgeable South Florida divorce attorney to discuss your options and which type of dissolution is best for your individual situations. The Boca Raton based team at the Law Offices of Schwartz | White have years of experience in all types of divorces. Contact our office at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.