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A Step-By-Step Guide to The Divorce Process

David Scott, P.A. Aug. 20, 2022

The unknown is scary. And if you’ve never gone through a divorce, the entire process can be downright terrifying.

But if you had a better idea of what was going to happen along the way, you might be able to quell your fears and go into your divorce with less stress and anxiety.

So if you’re contemplating getting a divorce, here is a step-by-step guide of what you can expect from beginning to end.

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

A simplified dissolution of marriage is essentially an “easy” divorce. It tends to make the process quicker and less stressful. Which sounds pretty great, right? But in order to qualify for this “simplified” divorce, couples have to meet every single one of the below requirements:

• One spouse needs to live in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for a divorce
• Both spouses agree the marriage isn’t salvageable
• The couple doesn’t have any kids
• The wife isn’t pregnant
• No one is seeking alimony
• Both spouses have filed financial affidavits or agree they don’t need them
• Both spouses agree on the division of property
• Both spouses agree to the simplified procedure and give up the right to a trial and appeal

If you meet all of these requirements, all you will need to do is:

1. File all the necessary paperwork
2. Appear together before a judge who will grant your divorce

Pretty easy, right?

This can be a great solution if couples agree on everything and don’t have any children. If you are unable to seek a simplified dissolution of marriage, you will want to seek a regular dissolution of marriage.

Regular Dissolution of Marriage

Many divorces are a bit more complicated than the simplified divorce process allows for, so a regular divorce is needed. Following these steps will help you prepare for your own divorce.

File a petition. The first step in the divorce process is when either spouse files a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The petition says the marriage is broken and details what the filing spouse seeks in terms of alimony, time-sharing with children, child support, and division of property. The other spouse will then answer the petition and file it in court.

Temporary orders. If one spouse needs financial support from the other spouse for child support or maintaining their current lifestyle, that spouse can ask for a temporary order during the divorce proceedings. A temporary order can be granted pretty quickly and will stay active until the full court hearing.

Negotiation. All divorces are different. If you and your spouse can agree on all the terms of your divorce then this part will be easy. You can sign a settlement agreement and then your divorce will be granted.

If you and your spouse don’t agree on some issues, you will need to work them out to be able to come to an agreement. Mediation might be great here. The purpose of mediation is to help couples agree while also avoiding a long court process.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on anything, you will most likely have to go to trial where a judge will make decisions for you on all of the issues in question. These kinds of divorces are long, often hostile, and almost always expensive.

During a regular divorce, both spouses can also examine and cross-examine the other spouse as a witness and get any necessary documents about the other spouse’s finances, assets, and so on.

Hopefully, this paints a clearer picture of the divorce process. But if you still have questions or are still unsure of how everything will work for you, your best option is to consult with an experienced Florida divorce attorney who can give you answers and guide you every step of the way.