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How To Divorce In Florida

Prepare The Summons For The Florida Court Clerk

How to file for divorce in Florida

The summons is the document the clerk signs to give the process server the ability to service your spouse, who is viewed as the defendant. Service refers to the act of giving a copy of the required papers to the other party through the procedures of the law. Its required for all documents included in your case. In general, there are three different types of service:

  • Personal service
  • Satisfy The Residency Requirements For Divorce In Florida

    You must confirm that you meet all Florida divorce standards before you begin the filing procedure. One of them is relocating to the state and staying there for at least six months. Only the person filing for the divorce needs to be a resident of Florida you dont need to be both. The court will not have jurisdiction over your case if you dont meet these criteria, so youll have to either wait or file in the state where you now reside.

    Uncontested Divorces In Florida

    In an uncontested divorce, the spouses have agreed about all the issues involved in ending their marriage, including:

    • how they’ll divide their and debts
    • whether one spouse will pay alimony and if so, how much and for how long, and
    • if they have minor children together, their arrangements for child custody, visitation, and child support.

    Many couples attempt to settle any disputes before they file for divorce, often with the help of mediation. That way, once they have a , they can attach the signed agreement to the dissolution petitionand the rest of the divorce process will be relatively simple.

    Here are the basic steps for a regular uncontested divorce in Florida:

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    Division Of Assets In Florida

    Florida is an equitable distribution state and that means assets will be divided in a fair and equitable manner, but not necessarily with a 50/50 split. Judges will start with the premise of making an equal distribution but will then adjust the division based on several possible factors that may result in either spouse receiving more than the other.

    Some of these factors will include:

    • Each spouses economic circumstances
    • Contributions to the marriage by each spouse including contributions as a homemaker and caring for kids
    • The duration of the marriage
    • Did one spouse contribute to the education or career advancement of the other spouse
    • Did one spouse put their career on hold for the good of the marriage
    • The contribution of each spouse in acquiring income and debts
    • How desirable is it to keep the family home for the good of continuing to raise kids
    • Did one spouse dissipate marital assets before filing for a divorce petition, either through substance abuse, gambling or other reckless pursuits
    • Any other factors that are pertinent in fairly determining the equitable distribution of assets

    One challenge when it comes to dividing assets in Florida is when one spouse or the other claims that an asset is a separate property instead of marital property. This can lead to complicated disagreements.

    How To File For Divorce In Florida With Children

    Florida Divorce Basics

    For marriages that involve children, or those that have circumstances requiring child support hearings, the petitioners need to complete the Marital Settlement Agreement Form and file the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. The Marital Settlement Agreement Form completed should cover their minor children, those of their spouse, their dependent children, and the properties they have. The completed form should also include agreements about child custody, time-sharing, alimony payments, property transfers etc. Florida requires all these processes to ensure Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities. The petitioner also needs to complete and file the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act Affidavit. This is a requirement, even if the spouses have agreements on the custody of the children. If the spouses are able to agree on most of the terms of the divorce, they can sign written agreements stating these agreed terms. The agreements should include parenting plans for the children in concern. Florida allows spouses to present their agreements orally to the judge in a final hearing if the agreements are not yet formalized in writing. In situations where there are still disputes between the spouses, trials will be required.

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    Filing A Petition For Divorce In Florida

    In order for a legally begin a divorce in Florida, a spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in a county in which one or both of the spouses live. After the filing of the petition, the paperwork must be served to the other party. They have approximately 20 days to respond in which to respond.

    Parenting Plans And Divorce

    Parenting plan” means a document created to govern the relationship between the parties relating to the decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and shall contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child.

    The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being.

    In creating the parenting plan, all circumstances between the parties, including the parties’ historic relationship, domestic violence, and other factors must be taken into consideration. The parenting plan shall be developed and agreed to by the parents and approved by a court or, if the parents cannot agree, established by the court.

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    What If We Cant Execute An Uncontested Agreement

    If you and your spouse are unable to reach a divorce settlement agreement which is typically seen in abusive or toxic situations a final decree will be signed by the judge that determines the disposition of issues surrounding the children and assets. The judge will decide the disputed issues based on the evidence presented in court. Once rendered, the final decree typically resolves all outstanding matters and grants the divorce effective the day the decree is signed.

    Divorce Laws On Child Support

    5 Things to Know About Divorce in Florida

    Going through a divorce with children is extra tough. In the Florida, the court can order a parent or a party to pay child support based on the child support guidelines . Florida has a standard needs table that provides general child support amounts based on the parents income and the childs age. Florida courts can also set aside separate or joint assets of parents in a fund or trust for the future support and/or education of the child.

    If ordered, child support payments will continue until the childs 18th birthday or at the point when parties agree otherwise. Most Florida child support attorneys use a specific formula based on the net incomes of the involved parties with considerations to the following statutory deductions:

    • Cost of health care
    • Cost of childcare expenses
    • The number of overnight stays the children spends with each parent

    If your divorce or child support case has special circumstances such as a child or children with special needs, either party can use the Motion to Deviate from Child Support Guidelines

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    What About Retirement Accounts

    In your Florida 3StepDivorce, you may also agree on whether and how youll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401s, individual retirement accounts , and defined-benefit pensions.

    If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, youll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you . The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. Youll almost always need this kind of expert help when youre dealing with a defined-benefit pension.

    Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Heres how that works: Say you have a 401 through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide , your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401. That way, you dont have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order thats needed to tell the 401 administrator how to divide the account.

    The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouses share transferred to another IRA account in that spouses name.

    Florida Divorce Laws Mandate Shared Parental Responsibility For A Minor Child

    This means that both parents share responsibilities for child rearing so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child. This requires both parents to confer with each other so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.

    You and your spouse may agree, or the court may order, that one parent have the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare. Some of these areas might be education, religion, removal from the area, and medical and dental needs.

    If the parties have a substantial conflict over any of these areas the parties can request that the court decide for them.

    If the parties cannot agree the court will prepare a parenting plan. The parent’s are usually entitled to frequent, continuing and unsupervised contact with the child in the parenting plan.

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    Can I Use Florida 3stepdivorce In My Situation

    You may use Florida 3StepDivorce as long as you meet the states residency requirement, you and your spouse agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken, and your divorce is uncontested. Youll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, thatcovers all of the issues in your divorce. Florida 3StepDivorce will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.

    Florida 3StepDivorce can also help if you arent ready to file for divorce, but you want a with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while youre separated but still legally married.

    What Is A Financial Affidavit And Do I Need One

    How To File For Divorce In Florida Yourself 2021

    Almost every divorce case in Florida will require both parties to submit a Financial Affidavit. The affidavit is used to ensure assets are distributed equitably. During a marriage dissolution, how the assets are divided is important. Properly preparing the affidavit is essential.

    It is a necessary document whether the couple is filing an uncontested or contested divorce. Even when both parties are for the divorce and cordial with one another, the financial affidavit is required in Florida. For courts in the state of Florida to recognize the divorce agreement, full financial disclosure is necessary.

    What is a Financial Affidavit?

    The financial affidavit is required via a Florida statute. There are many factors that are taken into consideration during a divorce, but income is a major factor in nearly every case.

    The affidavit will itemize all income, assets, liabilities, and tax deductions to determine net worth. All sources of income are carefully evaluated to determine key items like child support, alimony, and asset distribution.

    Long Form vs. Short Form

    Divorcing parties who have a gross annual income of less than $50,000 must complete the short form affidavit. Those who have an annual gross income over $50,000 must complete the long form. Both forms have the same basic information, including:

    Employment and income information

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    Divorce Process In Florida: What Are The Steps To Getting A Divorce

    If you are considering getting a divorce, knowing the process and the timeline in the steps in a divorce is important to make this difficult time as smooth as possible. As legal advocates for our clients, the Golden Key Law Group understands how stressful this time can be and is here to provide the information you need regarding the steps to getting a divorce in Florida.

    In Florida, a divorce is called a dissolution of marriage. There are two types:

    Simplified Dissolution of Marriage for spouses who do not have children, agree on the division of property/assets, are not seeking alimony, and are not pregnant

    Regular Dissolution of Marriage for spouses who fall under all other circumstances, including a contested divorce over property/assets and legal matters and responsibilities for children.

    Each situation is different, but the overall divorce process in Florida has certain requirements and steps.

    Divorce When Your Spouse Lives Outside Florida

    Establishing residency is typically a straightforward process that is easily accomplished. Florida requires at least one spouse to be a resident for at least six months immediately preceding the divorce filing. The resident requesting spouse can prove residency with a valid Florida drivers license, Florida ID, or Florida voter registration card. An affidavit or testimony from a corroborating witness may be used if neither of these is available.

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    Should You Represent Yourself In A Florida Divorce

    You certainly have the right to represent yourself in your divorce. But whether you should do that is a different matter. Self-representation is most practical when you have an uncontested case, or you have no minor or dependent children and very few assets. But in situations where you have custody disputes or a significant amount of property, you may be better off retaining an attorney. Divorce laws can be quite complicated. A qualified divorce lawyer will know the intricacies of the law, as well as the ins-and-outs of the court system.

    Remember, you’re likely going to have to live with the results of your case well after the divorce is over. If, down the road, you realize you made a mistake, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to correct it. So it pays to get it right the first time.

    There Are Substantial Differences Between A Simplified And A Regular Dissolution Of Marriage

    The Divorce Process for Men in Florida

    In a regular dissolution, each spouse has the right to examine and cross-examine the other as a witness, and to obtain documents concerning the other’s income, expenses, assets and liabilities before having a trial or settlement of the case.

    With a simplified dissolution, financial information may be requested but it is not required to be given.

    In a simplified dissolution there is no trial and no appeal.

    Also, with a simplified dissolution neither the husband nor the wife can receive support from the other.

    If the husband and wife agree on a dissolution, and prefer to use the simplified form of dissolution, then they should both contact the clerk of the circuit court in their area and obtain a copy of the booklet titled “Simplified Dissolution Information” for more detailed information and forms.

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    Contact Denmon Pearlman For A Better Way To A Florida Divorce Assistance

    We created How to File for Divorce in Florida to provide you with a straightforward overview of the process. As an experienced Florida divorce attorney, I have found one of the biggest hurdles is my clients expectations and understanding of the process. By providing a guide on how to get a divorce in Florida, you will have a better understanding of what the process entails and what to expect.

    Considering the various forms and documentation, filing for a divorce in Florida can be overwhelming. While a simplified dissolution of marriage or uncontested divorce may be relatively straightforward, most divorces revolve around highly contentious items that make the most amicable scenario a far and distant fantasy. In either case, the family law attorneys at Denmon|Pearlman will walk you through the process, protect your rights, and work to ensure you receive a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

    We hope you enjoyed our How to File for Divorce in Florida guide. Contact Denmon Pearlman for legal advise specific to your case. We would love to help.

    Bifurcation Of Marital Status

    Bifurcation means that both parties in a dissolution of marriage can legally be declared as a single person while the other issues in their divorce are still being worked out. It does not affect things such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or other contentious issues that may have stalled or become major sticking points that are keeping the dissolution of marriage from being finalized.

    States throughout the country treat bifurcation differently. Some states permit it while other states do not. Florida will grant bifurcation in some instances and will only postpone decisions on property issues.

    Laws regarding bifurcation tend to be complicated, so it is best to check with an attorney who will be able to provide legal advice on the legal ramifications and requirements of bifurcation in Florida.

    If you are granted a bifurcation, and you took the last name of your spouse, you can legally restore your name to your maiden name. Another thing to be aware of is that if a spouse maintains health insurance for the other, then he or she must continue to provide coverage, when possible.

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    How Long Do You Have To Be A Resident Of Florida To File For Divorce

    In order for the court to have subject-matter jurisdiction to enter dissolution of marriage, one of the parties must reside in the state of Florida for six months before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and must have the intent to remain a resident of Florida at the time of filing. Once you have lived in Florida for the requisite period of time, and you have a ground for divorce, you can file for divorce.

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