The process of getting a divorce is a difficult and often confusing time. If you are getting a divorce in Florida, knowing what to expect will help you prepare and reduce your stress in regards to the various legal issues and decisions that need to be made.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and what you need to know:
What Is the First Thing I Need To Do?
A resident seeking a divorce in Florida starts with filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The papers are then served to the spouse by a process server. The claims of the petition can include:
- Child Support
- Division of Property and Debts
- Timesharing with Minor Children, etc.
In addition, according to Florida law, if there are kids involved, both parties need to take a “Children & Divorce” type seminar.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
It depends. The length of time will be determined by whether it is uncontested or contested. If both spouses agree to all the terms and are cooperative with steps to move it forward, it can take as little as 4-5 weeks.
However, if one or more of the terms are not agreed upon, such as child support or alimony, the process may take anywhere from 4-6 months. Counties that are very busy can take up to or even more than a year. Optimally, the case would be settled in mediation prior to getting to trial, reducing the time to completion.
What if My Spouse Cannot Be Located?
Yes, you can still get a divorce in Florida. You have to perform what is called a good faith search. This is required by Florida law. This can include a DMV search, speaking to family and friends, etc. You would also have to publish a notice in an appropriate newspaper for a certain period of time. If the spouse is still unable to be found, you can get a divorce. An issue that is important to know is that the court will not be able to order any alimony until the individual is found and served with papers.
Can I Represent Myself?
It is not recommended. The rights and responsibilities of individuals going through the process of getting a divorce in Florida are comprehensive. Without proper legal counsel, your rights may not be upheld in regards to alimony, property division, child support, etc. and a necessary step may not get completed ̶ potentially prolonging and complicating the process.
An attorney will help you navigate the legal system, advocate for your interests, and help you make informed decisions along the way. Don’t let the complexities of the system overwhelm you. Expert assistance is available to protect and defend your legal rights.on Dec 11, 2017