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A Family Law Firm
  • Deena Soliman Braun

A Step-by-Step Guide: How to File for Divorce in Florida

Introduction: Filing for divorce can be a complex and emotional process, but understanding the steps involved can help make it smoother. In this guide, we'll walk you through how to file for divorce in Florida, including key information about costs and legal separation.


Step 1: Determine Eligibility In Florida, to file for divorce, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing. Additionally, you must assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning there is no hope of reconciliation.


Step 2: Prepare Necessary Documents The first document you'll need to file is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which outlines the terms of the divorce, such as child custody, asset division, and alimony. You'll also need to fill out a Financial Affidavit, which details your income, expenses, assets, and debts.


Step 3: File the Forms Once you've completed the necessary documents, you'll file them with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where you or your spouse resides. There is a filing fee for this, which varies by county but typically ranges from $200 to $400.


Step 4: Serve Your Spouse After filing the paperwork, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This can be done through certified mail or by hiring a process server.


Step 5: Wait for Response Your spouse has 20 days to respond to the petition after being served. If they contest the divorce or disagree with any terms, they must file a response with the court.


Step 6: Negotiate Settlement If both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, you can negotiate a settlement agreement. This document outlines the terms of the divorce, including child custody, support, and property division.


Step 7: Attend Mediation In some cases, couples may be required to attend mediation to resolve any disputes. This is a collaborative process facilitated by a neutral third party.


Step 8: Finalize the Divorce Once all issues are resolved, the divorce can be finalized. A judge will review the settlement agreement and issue a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.


Legal Separation in Florida: Unlike some other states, Florida does not have a formal legal separation process. However, couples may choose to enter into a separation agreement, which outlines the terms of their separation, such as child custody, support, and property division. While not legally binding, a separation agreement can provide clarity and structure during the separation period.


Conclusion: Filing for divorce in Florida involves several steps, from preparing paperwork to attending mediation. Understanding the process and seeking guidance from a qualified family law attorney can help ensure a smoother transition. While costs vary, it's essential to budget for filing fees and any legal assistance needed. Additionally, couples considering separation may explore a separation agreement to outline terms during this period. With proper preparation and guidance, navigating the divorce process in Florida can lead to a more amicable resolution for all parties involved.


 How to File for Divorce in Florida
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