The Florida Divorce Process
The family law attorneys at Weiner & Weiss, LLC have more than 35 years of combined experience handling divorce cases in Broward and Palm Beach County. Here we provide specific information about the divorce process in Florida.
Filing for Divorce in Florida
To get the divorce process started, one or both parties must file a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" in the circuit court in the county in which one party resides. The parties may also file additional paperwork at this time, such as a financial affidavit or a marital settlement agreement, depending on the circumstances of their marriage. If financial statements are not filed with the petition, each party must complete a financial affidavit to the other party with 45 days of the service of the petition or several days before any temporary hearing.
If one spouse filed the divorce petition, the other spouse has 20 days from the date of being served to file an answer to the divorce petition. The answer should address the issues in the initial petition, as well as any additional issues addressed in a counter-petition.
After the divorce petition is filed, the County Clerk of Court's office will notify all parties of court dates and information required for a hearing. It is essential to follow the county clerk's directions and submit all required documents on time, as failure to submit the correct information or documents—or the failure to appear in court—will likely result in a dismissal of the divorce petition or even court sanction.
In Florida, the residency requirement for a court to claim jurisdiction in a divorce case is six months. This means that one or both spouses must be living in Florida for at least six months before filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
Mediation is a procedure to assist divorcing couples in working out an arrangement for reaching a divorce settlement without a trial. Its purpose is not to save a marriage, but to help parties reach solutions and arrive at agreeable terms for handling child custody, child support, alimony, property division and other divorce issues. Broward County and Palm Beach County both have court-connected mediation services, and require at least one mediation session before the date for a divorce trial can be set.
If the parties to a divorce cannot reach a settlement agreement, a trial is required. Each party will present its case to the judge, and the judge makes the final decision on contested issues, which will be reflected in the final divorce decree.
Contact Us for Legal Support during Divorce
If you are considering divorce, the advice and representation of an experienced family law attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. Please contact Weiner & Weiss, LLC for more information about our services.