Law

How to File for Divorce in Florida

 

If you are considering filing for divorce in the state of Florida, it is important to know how the process works. While you are not required to have an attorney, it may be beneficial in some cases.

Complete a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the first step in filing for an uncontested divorce Tampa. As the person filing for the divorce, you are the petitioner and your spouse is the respondent. You will also need to complete a Summons and file that with the court along with your petition. There are different forms to use depending on whether or not you have children. Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months, before you will be eligible to file. 

List All Issues on Your Petition

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you can file for divorce without needing to cite misconduct by your spouse as a reason. However, if there is a dispute over alimony, child custody or the division of assets and debts and you want your spouse’s misconduct to be considered by the court, you will need to list it on the petition. If there are no child custody issues, neither spouse is seeking alimony and you have agreed on how to split your assets and debts, then you may choose to file a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Petition or resolve your divorce through a settlement agreement. 

File Your Petition with the Court

Once you have completed your petition, you will need to deliver it to the clerk’s office of the circuit court for the county where you are filing. The petition must be notarized before the clerk can accept it, so you should not sign the forms until you are in the presence of a notary. The courthouse may make notary services available for a fee. Once your documents are signed and notarized, you will need to present them to the clerk and pay the filing fee. If you cannot afford the fee, you can request a waiver from the court. The clerk should provide you with a date-stamped copy of your petition as proof that it has been filed. A copy of the petition will need to be served to your spouse. 

An uncontested divorce can be a fairly straightforward process. However, if child custody or property disputes are involved, it may be wise to consult an attorney.

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