There are two options for divorce in Florida: regular dissolution of marriage and simplified dissolution. Simplified dissolution can be simpler and less expensive than regular dissolution, though there are qualifications that have to be met. In this blog entry, we’re going to break down these conditions and walk through the process.
In order to qualify for a simplified dissolution…
- Either you or your spouse (or both) must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing.
- You and your spouse must both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
- You and your spouse must have no children under the age of 18, and the wife cannot be currently pregnant.
- You and your spouse need to have an agreement that’s satisfactory to you both about how to divide assets and debts.
- Neither partner can be seeking alimony.
- Neither partner can be seeking financial information.
- You and your spouse must both be willing to give up your right to a trial.
- You and your spouse must both be willing to attend the final hearing.
- You and your spouse must both be willing to sign the petition.
If you qualify for this expedited process, here’s what to expect:
You’ll be asked to fill out forms, and based on the information the Clerk’s Office will prepare a petition for you. You will be asked to sign the petition at the Clerk’s Office in the presence of the deputy clerk.
The forms that are required generally include a financial affidavit, a Notice of Social Security Number, and a Marital Settlement Agreement. The Clerk’s Office will be able to provide information about exactly which forms are required. You must provide proof that at least one spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months before the filing date. Residence can be proven by a Florida driver’s license, a Florida identification card, a voter registration card, the testimony of someone who knows that you or your spouse have lived in Florida for at least six months, or an affidavit from a person who knows that you or your spouse have lived in Florida for at least six months. Again, the Clerk’s Office will be able to provide details.
Then, the clerk will schedule the hearing. There’s a mandatory 20-day waiting period. On the day of the hearing all the paperwork is presented to the judge, and if all is in order, the judge will often grant final judgment right then and there. A failure of one or both spouses to appear may result in dismissal of the case.
In some cases, a simplified dissolution can make a great deal of sense. If you and your spouse don’t have dependant children and are able to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement, this process can save you time and expenses.
However, most divorce cases are more complicated and require a more complex solution. In these cases, it is usually a mistake to pursue a simplified dissolution, even if it will save you time and expenses in the short term. If you are contemplating divorce and would like to discuss whether or not a simplified dissolution makes sense, we’d be glad to talk with you. Please contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation!