An uncontested divorce offers many benefits. The most important advantage is avoiding a lengthy litigation and contentious courtroom battle. With an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse amicably reach agreements on all major issues such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support.
In Florida, uncontested divorces are a simpler, quicker and less costly way to end a marriage.
Differences between Uncontested and Contested Divorces
In divorce litigation, a judge or a jury makes all the important decisions that affect your life because you and your spouse are unable to do so.
In a contested divorce, you have less control over what happens to your family. The main problems with litigation are the expense and time. There are legal fees and court fees, and delays due to busy court calendars.
With an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse have the ability to make choices that both parties can live with. Another benefit of an uncontested divorce is that if both parties agree, a few requirements can be waived, thus speeding the process though the court system.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida
In Florida, not all divorcing couples are eligible for an uncontested divorce. This option is only available if a couple meets all the requirements below.
- Both spouses agree that the marriage is over.
- One or both spouses have lived in Florida for six months or more prior to the divorce.
- Both spouses agree about division of property and debts.
- Both spouses agree to terms of spousal support terms such as how much and for how long.
- Both spouses agree about child custody, child support and visitation.
- Each spouse completes a financial affidavit of all property and finances, unless waived by both parties.
- Each spouse completes a marital settlement agreement.
- Each spouse appears at the final heating, unless waived by both parties.
By working together to resolve all these issues, the divorcing couple won’t need litigation to settle disagreements.
Procedure for Uncontested Divorce
Although an uncontested divorce is much simpler and less stressful than a contested divorce, there are still procedures that must be followed. Divorce is a complicated process and different for every couple. Hiring an experienced family law attorney will ensure that the process goes smoothly.
The first step requires you (petitioner) to file for divorce against your spouse (respondent). The petition for dissolution of marriage is filed with the county clerk’s office for which there is a filing fee. The respondent is then served with the divorce petition and files a written answer.
Attached to the petition are the marital settlement agreement and the financial affidavits. The marital settlement agreement lists the couple’s assets and debts, and the terms and conditions for the division of all property. Both spouses must complete either a short financial affidavit (for an annual income of $50,000 or less) or a long financial affidavit (for an annual income of $50,000 or more.)
After all the necessary paperwork is filed with the county clerk, the petitioner schedules a divorce hearing. As the final step, both spouses appear in court before a judge who grants a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Procedure for Uncontested Divorce
While you may think you don’t need an attorney for an uncontested divorce, it’s a good idea to have one represent you, even if there if there will be no litigation. Carolan Family Law Firm, PA is grounded in family law and has extensive knowledge of Florida’s divorce laws. To protect your rights, contact the law office today at (305) 358-2330.