“You know why divorces are so expensive? They’re worth it.”Willie Nelson
An overview of Florida divorce laws
Discover the process of filing for divorce in Florida without an attorney. If you’re wondering, “how to file for divorce in Florida without an attorney,” Florida’s divorce laws provide various avenues for divorce proceedings. In a no-fault divorce, there’s no need for either party to establish fault for the marriage’s dissolution. Conversely, a fault divorce requires one spouse to provide evidence of the other’s misconduct, which could include actions like adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. To begin the divorce process in Florida, there is a minimum residency requirement stating that at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for six months prior to filing. Initiating the procedure involves completing a divorce petition and submitting it to the court. The respondent then has a 20-day period to respond to the petition.
In cases where both parties can come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce settlement, encompassing property division, spousal support, child custody, and alimony, they have the option of pursuing an uncontested divorce, avoiding the necessity of litigation or mediation.
However, if disagreements arise or if one party proves uncooperative during negotiations, it is recommended to seek the counsel of an attorney who can provide expert guidance throughout the legal process.
To summarize: to get a divorce in Florida, you need to:
- Be a resident here
- Fill out a petition form
– Respond to the respondent within 20 days
Grounds for divorce in Florida
- Marriage has irretrievably broken down: this means that there are disputes in the marriage that cannot be resolved.
- Mental incapacity of one of the spouses: if one of the spouses has been recognized as mentally incapacitated for at least three years, the other spouse may file for divorce.
- Adultery or infidelity
- Domestic violence or abuse
If you are considering filing for a no-fault divorce in Florida without an attorney, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Both parties must agree to the terms described.
- You will need to fill out and submit all the necessary documents correctly.
- It would be helpful if you were familiar with the local court rules regarding family cases, as they vary from county to county.
- Mediation may also be required.
- To ensure that everything goes smoothly at every stage of your case, contact an attorney.
Residency requirements for filing for divorce in Florida:
- Before you can file, you must have resided in Florida for at least six consecutive months.
- If you have recently moved to Florida and have not yet met the permanent residency requirements, it is better to wait until you reach this deadline.
- Residency is established by providing documents such as voter registration cards, driver’s licenses, or utility bills.
- It is important to note that even if only one of the spouses meets the residency requirements, it is still possible to file for divorce in Florida.
If both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce agreement (including property division, spousal support, custody, and alimony), they can avoid litigation or mediation by choosing an uncontested divorce.
To proceed with this process, here are some steps that can help:
- Draw up an agreement and sign it
- Filling out the forms
- Participation in the final hearing
Property division in Florida divorce cases
If you are getting a divorce in Florida without an attorney, here are some additional things you should know:
- You will need to identify all assets to be divided
- Assigning values to these properties
- Drafting agreements and filing forms
Child custody rights and visitation rights in Florida
Visitation rights also play an important role. Visitation schedules can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances, but common options include:
- Supervised visitation: requires someone else to supervise all visits between the non-custodial parent and their child.
- Unsupervised visitation: In this case, both parents agree that unsupervised visitation between the non-custodial parent and their child can take place at certain times.
Virtual visitation is a virtual way for parents who do not have physical access or cannot meet due to distance or time constraints, etc. To communicate with their children through video calls, text messages, emails, photos and other online platforms.
It is crucial to recognize that during the process of divorce, thorough discussions should take place to develop a comprehensive parenting plan that addresses various aspects, including decision-making pertaining to parenting, encompassing education, sports, and medical care.
Alimony and spousal support in Florida divorce cases
Navigating the intricacies of alimony eligibility and the specific type of support that may apply to your situation can be challenging without professional legal guidance. Thus, it is advisable to reach out to an attorney who will offer support throughout the entire divorce process.
If you are planning to seek alimony from your ex-spouse, here are some factors that Florida courts consider when determining eligibility and amount:
- The length of the marriage
- Earning capacity and financial resources
- Contributions made during the marriage
- Age and health status
Keep in mind that these factors are not exhaustive, and each case is unique based on its specific circumstances. An experienced family law attorney can provide valuable insight into what outcome you can expect in terms of spousal support requirements.
Mediation and collaborative divorce in Florida
Mediation and collaborative divorce can have several advantages over traditional litigation, including:
- It is often less expensive than going through a full trial.
- Both parties have more control over the outcome because they are involved in developing their own solutions, rather than leaving everything to the judge.
- It is usually faster than a traditional trial.
If you are contemplating utilizing any of these approaches, it’s crucial to ensure that you comprehend the process of divorce and your rights as per Florida divorce law. Enlisting the assistance of a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide you with the guidance needed to navigate this complex process, ensuring your confidence in making informed decisions about your future.
Contested and uncontested divorce in Florida
Contested divorce proceedings:
- In a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to agree on all issues related to their divorce.
- Thus, a judge must decide on issues such as property division, child custody and support arrangements, etc.
- Contested divorces often take longer and are more expensive than uncontested divorces because they involve numerous lawsuits and lengthy court proceedings.
Uncontested divorce procedures:
- An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties can agree on all aspects of their divorce without court intervention.
- This option is less expensive than litigation because it does not require extensive legal representation.
- In addition, it is also faster, as in most cases there are no hearings or trials
It is important to note that regardless of the type of divorce proceedings you are going through, it is better to contact a family law specialist who will help with the following nuances:
- Drafting and revision of contracts
- Ensuring the correct execution of documents
- Representing any party during mediation sessions, if necessary
- Adequate preparation of clients before the final hearing
Legal representation in Florida divorce cases
In certain situations, individuals may opt to enlist the services of a mediator rather than seeking legal counsel when dealing with divorce matters in Florida. A mediator serves as an impartial intermediary, aiding in the facilitation of communication between the involved parties with the goal of reaching an agreement. It’s important to note that mediators are not authorized to offer legal counsel or act as representatives for either party during legal proceedings related to divorce papers in Florida.
If you decide not to hire a lawyer in your divorce case, here are some things you need to keep in mind:
- You are responsible for accurately completing and submitting all required documents.
- You must follow the rules of your local court regarding family matters.
- If there is a dispute over property division, spousal support, child custody, or alimony, a trial or mediation may be required.
Florida divorce timeline and cost
- An uncontested divorce usually takes less time than a contested divorce.
- The minimum time required to finalize a divorce in Florida is 20 days after the papers are served on the partner.
- The fee for filing for divorce in Florida is between $400 and $500.
- If you decide to use an attorney, the costs can quickly add up. The hourly rate ranges from $150-$350 per hour depending on the level of experience.
- Mediation services may be required by the court and will incur additional fees.
It is important to note that although an uncontested divorce may seem like an inexpensive option at first glance, there may be hidden costs if mistakes are made during the filing of documents or negotiations break down. Therefore, it is advisable to get legal advice on all aspects of their case by hiring a professional lawyer.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2013. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.