Once you determine that your marriage is over, the first step in the divorce process is filing your divorce paperwork. This is colloquially known as “filing your divorce papers.” To file divorce paperwork in Florida, you must have been a resident of the state for at least six months.
You can find all the necessary paperwork for your Florida divorce online. The initial paperwork an individual must file to begin the divorce process in Florida is known as the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
There are Two Parties: The Petitioner and the Respondent
The spouse who files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is known as the petitioner. The other spouse is the respondent, because he or she must respond to this petition. The petitioner must file the document with the circuit court of the county where he or she resides. In this document, the petitioner must show how the marriage is irreparably broken or that his or her spouse has been incapacitated for three years or longer. The petitioner may cite other issues in the marriage, such as domestic violence or infidelity, as the reason for the marriage’s downfall, but he or she cannot cite these as “faults” that caused the divorce. In Florida, all divorces are no-fault divorces.
What to Include in a Petition for Divorce
Aside from the marriage’s breakdown, the petitioner must also state his or her requests for components of the divorce settlement. These can include parenting time, child support, and alimony.
You Will Have to Complete the Waiting Period
Once a divorce petition is filed, the couple must wait at least 20 days before their divorce can be finalized. In nearly all cases, the divorce process takes longer than this. If the couple qualifies for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, they can finish the divorce process in about 30 days.
Serving the Respondent
Once a petition is notarized and filed, it must be “served” to the respondent. Basically, it must be given to him or her. If he or she agrees to the divorce, the couple can complete the divorce process. If the respondent contests the terms laid out in the divorce petition, the court sets up hearings to work out the terms for the couple’s divorce settlement.
When the respondent does not respond, the petitioner can go ahead and work with the court to complete the divorce, often receiving the requests he or she included in the original petition.
Work with Draper Law Office to Complete your Divorce
Our team at Draper Law Office is here for you from your initial consultation to the day your divorce is finalized and beyond. Call us at (866) 767-4711 or visit us online today to set up your free, no-obligation legal consultation in one of our three convenient locations: Kissimmee, Orlando, or St. Cloud.