Jacksonville Divorce Attorney
Knowledgeable Family Law Assistance in Florida
When a marriage is no longer working, one or both parties may choose to get divorced. In Florida, the divorce process is referred to as a dissolution of marriage. Unlike other states, Florida does not require proof of fault as a ground for filing for dissolution; a party only needs to show that the couple were married, at least one spouse resided in the State of Florida for a minimum of six months, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
There are two types of dissolution of marriage proceedings: Simplified and regular. In order to file for a simplified dissolution, the parties must meet the above-noted requirements and must satisfy the following conditions:
- Both parties must agree to file in this manner,
- There must be no minor or dependent children (natural or adopted),
- Neither party may be pregnant,
- Both parties must agree to the division of the marital assets and marital debts,
- Neither party is seeking alimony,
- Both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and
- Both parties must attend the final hearing.
If any of these additional conditions are not met, then the parties will not qualify for the simplified process and will be required to file a regular dissolution of marriage. Unlike the simplified process, a regular dissolution requires only one spouse file for the dissolution; the non-filing spouse will be served with the paperwork via process server and will have 20 days to file a written response with the court. In addition, both parties are required to file a financial affidavit with the court within 45 days of service of the dissolution paperwork. Parties may also be required to submit additional financial documents, including a child support guidelines worksheet, depending on the matters at issue in the dissolution proceedings. Finally, both parties must appear at the final hearing.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
A regular dissolution can be either uncontested or contested. When parties are able to agree on all issues, including the division of marital property and debts, a parenting plan, spousal support, child support, and attorney’s fees—leaving no unresolved issues—this constitutes an uncontested dissolution. In contrast, a contested dissolution arises when the parties are unable to come to an agreement on all matters at issue. When this happens, the parties will go to trial, and a judge will decide the issues. In a contested dissolution, only the petitioner (the person who filed the petition for dissolution of marriage) is required to appear at the trial and/or final hearing.
Dissolving a marriage is not a decision to be made on a whim. Parties should try to work out their differences amicably; however, if the parties are unable to mend their relationship, then filing for dissolution of marriage may be the next step. If you are considering filing for a dissolution of marriage, and you would like the assistance of counsel in doing so, please contact The Law Offices of Kate Mesic to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.
Our Jacksonville divorce lawyers can be reached at (904) 615-8950.