What exactly is a simplified divorce?
Divorce is referred to as “Dissolution of Marriage” in Florida.
A “Simplified Dissolution Procedure” is a divorce procedure that people in Florida can use if they have no other issues for the court to decide besides their divorce: no children and no property to divide.
Is it possible for me to get a streamlined divorce?
If you and/or your spouse have lived in Florida for at least 6 months and all of the following conditions are met, you may be able to obtain a simplified dissolution of marriage.
- You and your spouse both agree that your marriage is “irreparably broken” and cannot be saved.
- You and your spouse have no minor or dependent child(ren) together (whether born before, during, or after your divorce), and neither of you is currently pregnant.
- You and your spouse have decided how to divide the things you both own (your marital assets) and who will pay what portion of the money you both owe (your marital liabilities).
- You accept that if your spouse does not follow through on your agreement to divide your property, you will lose your property.
- It should be noted that a pension is property. If either spouse expects to receive a portion of the other’s pension, a simplified dissolution is not the best option.
- You do not want your spouse’s support (alimony), and your spouse does not want your support.
- You and your spouse do not want any financial information other than what is contained in the financial affidavits.
- You are willing to give up your trial and appeal rights.
- You and your spouse are both willing to sign the petition in the clerk’s office (not necessarily together).
- You and your spouse both agree to attend the final hearing (at the same time).
How can I get a divorce that is less complicated?
Go to your local Clerk of the Court. Inform the Clerk that you want to file for a simplified divorce. The Clerk will give you information about the procedure to read. The Clerk will give you forms to fill out after you have read the information. The forms are also available online at www.flcourts.org.
Make a meeting with the Clerk of the Court for BOTH you and your spouse. During this meeting, your spouse will be required to read the same materials as you. Before filing for divorce, one of you must demonstrate that you have lived in Florida for at least six months. The most common method is to use a Florida Driver’s License that was issued six months or more before filing. If neither of you has a driver’s license, you can have a witness sign a sworn statement stating that they have personal knowledge that you have been a Florida resident for six months and have it notarized.
After your spouse has read the information and completed all your forms, you and your spouse can file for the simplified divorce and pay the required filing fee. The filing fee is $409.00, but if you are indigent, you may be eligible for a payment plan. All the forms are available online at the Florida Courts website. In addition to requesting a divorce, you may also request that the court change your name back to what it was before you married.
What happens when we appear in front of a judge for a Simplified Divorce hearing?
A hearing date will be set when you and your spouse file for divorce. At the hearing, both you and your spouse must appear before the Judge. Arrive early for the hearing: allow enough time to find parking, go through security, and find the correct room. Dress neatly, as if you were going to a job interview. Do not interrupt the judge and address her as “ma’am,” “sir,” or “your honor.” You will be questioned about what you wrote in your paperwork, and both spouses will be required to tell the judge that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
The Judge will make his or her decision after hearing both your and your spouse’s testimony. If the divorce is granted, the judge will sign your final judgment for dissolution of marriage, and you will receive a certified copy approximately one week later. You must retain the certified copy for your records.
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