The Divorce Process
In the State of Florida, individuals do not have to identify a certain fault as grounds for divorce. Therefore, the only requirement an individual must have to file a petition for a dissolution of marriage is to prove the matrimony is “irretrievably broken.” All divorce cases, regardless of type, are handled under Florida family law courts.
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, our family law attorneys at Bacchus Law Firm understand that it can be a highly stressful and emotional experience. Choosing a trustworthy Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney should be your priority in making your divorce as smooth as possible.
Stages of Divorce | Broward County Divorce Attorneys, FL
Although the requirements to file a divorce in Florida are minimal, navigating the legal process can be difficult. It is advisable that you don’t go through the divorce process alone and instead seek the legal counsel of a skilled Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer in Florida. This is where Bacchus Law Firm can step in to help.
Bacchus Law Firm serves clients throughout the greater Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area including Pompano Beach, Pembroke Pines and Hollywood. Call (954) 500-5555 to secure a free consultation today. During the consultation, Florida family law attorney Nisha E. Bacchus will overlook your case to see what your best options are.
- Dissolution of Marriage in Florida
- Regular Dissolution of Marriage in Florida
- Stages of Divorce in Florida
- Additional Resources
Florida is a no-fault state, which means neither party has to prove adultery or specific reasons for a divorce. According to Florida Divorce Law 61.052, any married couple can file for divorce if they state that irreconcilable differences have left the marriage irretrievably broken or one of the parties is mentally incompetent.
If these requirements are met, both parties may choose to file a regular dissolution of marriage or a simplified dissolution of marriage.
To qualify for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Florida, the couple must live in Florida for at least 6 months. Typically, the divorcing couple will not need legal representation if they’re pursuing a simple divorce as both parties will unanimously agree on the divorce decree. Both spouses must also meet the following requirements:
- Both parties have no minor or dependent child(ren) together
- The wife does not have any minor or dependent children born during the marriage
- The wife is not currently pregnant
- Both parties agree that the marriage cannot be saved
- The wife is not seeking support (alimony) from her spouse, and vice versa
- The parties have worked out how they will divide their assets, who will pay what part of the money they both owe (liabilities), and how satisfied they with this division
- Both parties are willing to give up their right to trial and appeal
- Both parties are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time)
- Both parties are both willing to go into the clerk’s office to sign the petition (not necessarily together)
If the husband and wife do not meet the criteria above, they must file a regular petition for dissolution of marriage.
A regular dissolution of marriage can be classified as an “uncontested” divorce or “contested” divorce. In a regular dissolution of marriage, one party is known as the “petitioner” and the other is referred to as the “respondent.” Once the petitioner requests a divorce with the clerk of court and declares the marriage is irretrievably broken, they will have the papers delivered to the respondent spouse. The respondent must then file an answer within 20 days but will be allowed to offer a counter-petition.
In an uncontested divorce, both the petitioner and respondent must agree on all issues related to marital debts, property, and child support settled in a signed “marital settlement agreement.” Additionally, each party must submit a financial affidavit to the other party. If the couple cannot agree on certain issues readily, they must attend trial in front of a judge, who will decide all issues in their case. This is what’s known as the contested divorce.
Obtaining a dissolution of marriage in Florida requires several steps. The first step in obtaining a divorce is filing the petition. Once the petition is filed by the petitioner, the next step is for the respondent to file an answer to the petition. After this step in the divorce process is complete, both parties must prepare their financial affidavits and provide mandatory disclosures which include the following documents:
- Retirement account statements
- Bank account statements
- Proof of income
- Income tax returns
- Credit card statements
To finalize the stages of a divorce, the couple will complete a Marital Settlement Agreement that addresses child custody, time-sharing, child support, alimony, and more. They also need to decide on a parenting plan which discusses each parent’s involvement in raising their children. After the divorce paperwork is complete, the couple will file their petition with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in the county where they live.
If both parties are unable to agree on financial aspects of the divorce and issues regarding the children, they must attend trial. At the trial, the family law attorney for the case will represent their best interests in front of the judge.
Once all of the parameters of the divorce have been agreed upon by both parties or mandated by the court, the judge will sign the “order of dissolution,” which is also known as the final order of divorce.
Florida Bar: The Divorce Process – Click the link provided to visit the Florida Bar website and view a consumer pamphlet on Divorce. Learn about different topics such as child support, alimony, tax considerations, division of assets and debts, and domestic violence. You can also learn how to file for a dissolution of marriage.
Instructions for Florida Family Parenting Plan – Follow the link provided to access a PDF on instructions for the Florida Family Parenting Plan. A parenting plan is required in cases involving time-sharing with minor children.
Fort Lauderdale Divorce Process Attorneys, FL
At Bacchus Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale divorce attorneys understand the emotional and legal complexities of the divorce process. A separation can have a difficult toll on any family. If you are considering a divorce, Bacchus Law Firm is here to support you through the legal aspects of process. Fort Lauderdale family law attorneys Nisha E. Bacchus and Russell J. Williams have handled a wide range of complex family law matters such as divorces. Allow them to advocate on your behalf.
Attorneys Bacchus and Williams help families facing the divorce process in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines and surrounding counties such as Collier County, Palm Beach County, Hendry County, and Miami-Dade County. Call (954) 500-5555 to schedule a confidential consultation with Bacchus Law Firm as soon as possible. Bacchus Law Firm is dedicated to representing your interests.