Florida Divorce Guide – Section 4


A petition for dissolution of marriage is filed with the circuit court in the county where you and your spouse last lived together, or in a county where either party resides, to begin the regular dissolution process. Either spouse has the right to file for divorce. The petitioner must claim that the marriage is irreparably damaged. The petition expresses the petitioner’s request to the court. The other spouse must file an answer within 20 days of being served, addressing the issues raised in the initial petition, and may include a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage raising any additional issues that the spouse requests the court to address.


Court rules governing a divorce require each party to provide certain financial documents and a completed financial affidavit to the other party within 45 days of the petition’s service or several days before any temporary hearing. Failure to provide this information may result in the case being dismissed or the requests of that party being ignored by the court. Except for the filing of a financial affidavit, which is required in all cases where financial relief is sought, the parties or the court can modify these requirements. A child-support guidelines worksheet must also be filed with the court at or before any child support hearing. The parties or the court may not waive this requirement.


Mediation is a procedure that assists you and your spouse in reaching an agreement without the need for a lengthy process or a trial. Its goal is not to save a marriage, but to assist divorcing spouses in reaching an agreement on how to handle the marriage’s dissolution. Many counties provide public or court-connected mediation services. Some counties require spouses to try mediation before scheduling a final hearing (also known as a “trial”). Visit the Florida Courts website to learn more about mediation.



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