Realizing that your marriage is failing or has failed can be devastating. You may be confused, lost, and hurt. If divorce is in your future, you may be wondering what happens next. Divorce is a time in life when an attorney can help secure your future.
The experienced Miami divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Aliette H. Carolan can help get you started. The first step is deciding what type of dissolution your case will be.
There are four general types of divorce in Florida. Florida law refers to divorce as “dissolution of marriage” or simply “dissolution.” The various types of dissolution vary in complexity and the time it takes to be finalized.
This type of dissolution is perhaps the quickest method, taking as little as three weeks in some situations.
However, there are several requirements that you and your spouse must meet to qualify for simplified dissolution in Florida. You and your spouse must:
- Have lived in Florida for at least 6 months prior to the divorce
- Agree that the marriage cannot be saved
- Have no children and no children on the way
- Agree on how you will divide assets and liabilities
- Agree that either spouse can or cannot seek alimony (or spousal support)
- Provide any and all financial information to each other
- Give up your right to trial and to an appeal
- Sign the petition at the clerk’s office
- Attend a final hearing where you must appear together
If you cannot agree to any of these terms, then simplified dissolution is not an option for your situation. For some, giving up the right to an appeal and trial is a serious mistake. Be sure to consult a Florida divorce attorney before making this decision.
An uncontested divorce does not have nearly as many restrictions, so it may be a better option for some couples. For an uncontested dissolution, the spouses must:
- Both want to get divorced
- Agree on how to divide assets and liabilities
- Agree about alimony –including information on the amount and length of time that it will be paid
- Agree about child custody, visitation, and child support
Getting both spouses to agree on these sensitive subjects can be very difficult. Spouses often choose this route just to get out of the marriage and do not consider the serious implications that these decisions may have in the future. Find out more by reading Top 5 Issues with Uncontested Divorces.
If you cannot find your spouse, you may need to file default dissolution. However, you must first perform a diligent search to find your spouse. This search is extremely extensive, as required by Florida law. For example, the search includes:
- Contacting last known employers
- Contacting relatives
- Checking telephone listings
- Contacting regulatory agencies
- Contacting law enforcement agencies
- Conducting Internet searches
- Checking child support enforcement records (Title IV-D)
- Contacting utility companies
- Writing letters to the United States Armed Forces
- Checking hospitals near the spouse’s last known address
- Contacting tax assessors
The spouse will also have to publish a notice about the dissolution in a newspaper that specializes in publishing legal advertisements. The missing spouse then has 28 days to respond. Only after this searching and publication can the spouse file for default divorce.
A contested dissolution is by far the most complicated divorce proceeding, and it will often take the most time. If the spouses dispute any aspect of the case, then the dissolution is considered contested. This can be alimony, child support, child custody, property division, or any number of other factors.
Contested divorces may not go to trial if the parties can reach an agreement during the negotiation and mediation process. If they cannot agree, then the trial and trial preparation can be both time consuming and expensive.
Whether you have a simplified divorce or a contested case, you should consult with an experienced FL divorce attorney. Disputes often arise even after you think you and your spouse have come to an agreement.
Click here to contact the Law Offices of Aliette H. Carolan or give us a call at 305-358-2330.