A Florida divorce need not be a multi-years long battle for some couples. Sometimes it can be an uncontested divorce that can save a lot of headaches. While not helpful or even possible for everyone, it can be cheaper and quicker than a regular divorce. That expedited divorce may even avoid some of the acrimony that may develop as a result of a protracted divorce itself.
Florida has a simplified dissolution of marriage procedure. This kind of divorce is sometimes known as an uncontested divorce. Certain criteria must all be met, including the following:
- Agreement to use simplified process and existence of irretrievably broken marriage
- No minor kids
- Neither party is pregnant
- Neither party seeks alimony
- Both parties already agreed to splitting of assets and debts
- One spouse resided in Florida for last six months
When the parties choose this uncontested, simplified dissolution of their marriage, they must forego certain rights, including:
- Examining and cross-examining the other spouse on the stand
- Discovery of other party’s income or expenses
- Obtaining documents regarding assets and liabilities
Although neither party retains the right to discovery and documents concerning the financial situation of the other party, they are both free to ask for it. The other party can voluntary provide the information but has no legal obligation to provide it.
This is different from a regular divorce where the parties must provide financial papers and execute a financial affidavit shortly after one party files the divorce complaint. In some counties, the parties to a regular divorce must attend mediation to facilitate an agreement on the divorce issues. This is obviously not a requirement in the simplified dissolution procedure.
To use the simplified procedure, the parties must properly file all the required paperwork with the court. Ultimately, as with a regular divorce, the parties must go before the court when a judge may grant their dissolution petition. Just as in a regular divorce, parties are also free to use attorneys to handle their dissolution although the legal fees may be much smaller.