No matter whether a divorce in Florida is contested or uncontested, the length of time it takes to complete the divorce from the time the original paperwork is filed is unknown. However, it is true that an uncontested or simple divorce will take less time to complete than a contested divorce. There will be steps to process in an uncontested divorce which take time and include the following:
- First and foremost, the couple needs to aware that if there are minor children born from the couple’s union, or if they own real property such as land or a home, the court requires the divorce to take the steps of a contested divorce.
- Next in importance is the requirement that each party entirely agrees with all the terms of a Florida divorce. They both must agree on alimony (if there is to be any), the equitable (not equal as Florida is an equitable distribution state) of all marital assets and liabilities., and any other matter such as a money settlement or distribution of a yet unsolved lawsuit. This requirement includes both parties understanding what determines a marital asset/liability as opposed to a non-marital asset/liability. If an attorney is to be used, agreement on attorney costs as well as court costs must be in place.
- Florida is a no-fault state, so there need be no cause for the divorce other than the desire to have one. In Florida, divorce is termed “dissolution of marriage” which denotes only that the parties believe their marriage is irrevocably broken. In a contested divorce only one party needs to want a dissolution of marriage, and a divorce can be granted but in an uncontested divorce is would mean both parties agree to the divorce.
- One of the parties must go to the courthouse in the couple’s county of residence and purchase the necessary forms to be filled out to file a petition for divorce. Once the papers have been filed and served on the other party, the receiving party has 20 days to file a response.
- Once the response has been received each party must complete an in-depth financial disclosure which, along with the proper paperwork and fee for the divorce, must be turned in to their county clerk of court’s office.
- If all has been done correctly, the couple will be notified of the date they are to appear in court where a judge will read them their rights; ask if each agrees to the divorce as determined in their paperwork; and grant the divorce. At this point, setting the date is where the time can be short or long depending on how backed-up the Family Court is in their county.
While the process of an uncontested divorce seems straight forward, there can be glitches along the way, so it is wise to at least consult with an attorney to be sure the requirements are understood and carried out correctly. Each party should have his or her own attorney to avoid any chance of favoritism.