Marriage Dissolution / Divorce
Dissolution of Marriage
In Florida, a divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage.” Florida, like many other states has abolished fault as a ground for divorce. The only requirement for a divorce in Florida is that one of the spouses show that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Requirements for a Divorce in Florida
To have a divorce in Florida it must also be proven that a marriage exists and one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken. The reason for the irretrievable breakdown, however, may be considered under certain limited circumstances in the determination of alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and the development of the parenting plan.
How to Start Your Divorce Case
The divorce case, is started by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the circuit court in the county where you and your spouse last lived together or in a county where either of you resides. The petition sets out what you want from the court. The respondent spouse must file an answer to the petition within 20 days of being served. A respondent spouse may choose to include a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage raising any additional issues he or she wants the court to handle.
Required filings in a Divorce case – Finances
When a divorce case is initiated the law requires both you and your spouse to provide a completed financial affidavit and provide certain financial documents within 45 days of the service of the petition or at least several days before any temporary hearing. A failure to provide this information can have negative results. The court could dismiss the case, or not consider your requests. The financial affidavit is mandatory in all cases where some sort of financial relief is requested from the Court. An example of a financial affidavit may be found here. Determining which version of financial affidavit is to be filed depends on whether annual gross income is below or above $50,000. The filing of a false financial affidavit in a divorce proceeding is considered as fraud.
The road which your divorce case will take after the initial filing depends on a number of factors including whether it is contested or uncontested, whether there are minor children involved, whether there are assets and liabilities for the court to divide, or whether there is the partition of a marital home involved.
Required filings in a Divorce Case-Involving Minor Children-Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit (UCCJEA Affidavit)
A UCCJEA affidavit must be filed in any divorce case in which there are minor children, even if the issues involving the child are not in dispute. This affidavit must be filed along with the petition. The respondent spouse must also file his own UCCJEA affidavit even though one was filed in the case by the petitioning spouse. The UCCJEA affidavit gives the court jurisdiction over the children. The divorcing spouses must file an amended affidavit in the event that there are any changes.
There are certain areas where one of the divorcing spouses may wish there to be temporary relief before the mediation / trial and before the court enters the final judgment. Some of the areas where people seek temporary relief include: Child related considerations (interference with time sharing, alienation) or Property and Support Considerations (Exclusive Use and Possesion of the Marital Home, Party seeks to remove himself or property from the State of Florida, Temporary Support). These issues can be complex and a family law attorney may help determine if temporary relief should be requested by the court. The spouses should try to resolve interim issues amicably before seeking the intervention of the court.
Mediation – Keeping Control of Your Situation
Mediation is the preferred way to resolve family law cases in Florida. In mediation, the spouses keep control of their situation and are able, with the help of a neutral mediator, to make their own decisions about what will happen with their family’s future. This is much better than having a judge tell the spouses how they will live their lives. In the end, the settlement provisions agreed at mediation about parenting and child support are reviewed and approved by the court in the best interest of the minor children.
How much Will a Divorce Cost?
The fees and costs for divorce cases vary widely. If your divorce is contested, or the issues are complex, the fees and expenses will be higher. At an initial meeting, we may provide an estimate of the total cost of a divorce based on the information you provide us. The final cost of your divorce will depend on many variables that are unpredictable.
Tell us about your problem. We can help.
If you need a lawyer for a family law matter, including divorce, child custody issues, visitation, spousal support, child adoption, petitions for modifications of orders, and pre and post nuptial agreements please contact Todd C. Passman today, at (772) 465-9806 or fill out the contact form on this page. Someone from our office will contact you right away.
Todd C. Passman, P.A. handles Family Law cases serving Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Stuart, and Okeechobee, Florida, and surrounding areas. Family law cases include divorce, child custody issues, visitation, spousal support, child adoption, petitions for modifications of orders, and pre and post nuptial agreements.