Did you know that the divorce rate spikes after the holiday and the winter season? According to a study conducted and published by the University of Washington, the divorce rate in the United States increases consistently between the months of March and August.
Although the divorce rate has dropped slightly in the last decade, so has the rate of marriages overall. However, sadly, 50 percent of all marriages end up in divorce.
If you believe divorce is in your future, or you are in the process of getting ready to file for divorce, then here are some things you need to know. In this article, we will explain the process of filing for divorce in Florida.
Step 1: Determine The Type of Divorce
The first step in filing for divorce in Florida is to determine if you qualify. At least one spouse in the marriage must have lived in the State of Florida for the last six months.
The second step is to file for a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”, which is essentially filing the initial divorce paperwork with the Florida Court system.
Despite popular belief, both parties do not have to agree to a divorce. This brings us to the third step: determining which type of divorce applies to you and your situation.
Contested vs. Uncontested
The two types of divorces are contested and uncontested.
When both parties agree to file for divorce, this is known as an uncontested divorce. In many uncontested divorce cases, divorce can be filed and processed within 30 days of the filing date, as long as both parties agree.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is when one party doesn’t agree to the divorce or the stipulations outlined in the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” paperwork. Uncontested divorce cases are often very complex, ugly, and often require a divorce attorney in Florida.
Step 2: Organize and File Financial Disclosure
Every divorce in Florida involves a discussion of finances for the purposes of the dissipation of assets or the division of marital assets and non-marital assets. Marital assets often include properties, vehicles, retirement accounts, and cash. As a result, this step requires both parties in the marriage to organize and file these documents and paperwork, which is referred to as “financial disclosure” in the legal world.
Financial disclosure can include paperwork related to the following:
- Children (such as medical or daycare expenses)
- Health insurance
- Tax returns
- Any relevant pending claims (such as personal injury, workers’ compensation, or bankruptcy suits/actions)
Step 3: Equitable Distribution
Unfortunately, many clients make the mistake of assuming that all marital assets are divided 50/50. In the State of Florida, 50/50 is only a starting point.
There are many factors and circumstances that go into determining how marital assets and liabilities are divided. This is another reason why preparing and organizing financial disclosure is so important.
If there are certain assets that you want to keep for yourself and your children, then working with a divorce attorney in Florida can help.
Step 4: Respond to the Divorce
Once the “Dissolution of Marriage” paperwork has been filed, and you or your spouse have been served, you have 20 days after the service of the divorce to respond. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that as soon as you file for divorce, or if you are served with divorce papers, this becomes public record.
Again, depending on the type of divorce, you may want to consider working with a divorce attorney in Florida prior to responding.
How a Divorce Attorney in Florida Can Help
In order to ensure the best possible outcome for your divorce, it’s important to work with a divorce attorney that is prepared to provide aggressive, solid, and compassionate representation for you and your family.
At the Law Offices of Travis Walker, our team of attorneys and paralegals keep clients informed and engaged with weekly updates to meet your needs. We also send out periodic feedback forms so you can be certain your case is being handled appropriately.