Divorce Proceedings In Florida

Filing for divorce in Florida is easy.  Getting a result you are happy with can be more difficult.  While the end result of every divorce is  usually the same (i.e. restoring the couple’s status as single individuals, dividing assets and liabilities, and addressing child support and custody issues), Florida courts recognize two types of divorce: Simplified and Contested.

Simplified Divorce

If you or your spouse have lived in Florida for at least 6 months, have no children, agree on how to divide your assets and debts, and both agree that your marriage is irretrievably broken, you are eligible for what is known as a “simplified dissolution or simplified divorce” in the state of Florida. The simplified divorce process is faster than a traditional divorce and generally only involves filing a certified divorce petition, financial affidavits and the appearance of both parties at a final hearing before the judge.  Simplified proceedings are advantageous for couples who do not have children and are simply trying to move on with their lives. For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.  How can we help you?

 Contested Divorce

If you have children or cannot agree on a division of your assets and liabilities or the award of temporary support or alimony you will not qualify for a simplified divorce and a formal contested proceeding will be necessary.  A contested divorce proceeding will include:

  •  Filing a petition for divorce or answering a petition if your spouse has served you divorce papers:
  • Filing mandatory financial disclosures;
  • Serving various forms of discovery to determine the value of the marital estate and the qualifications of each parent to care for any children to the marriage; and
  • Serving discovery to ascertain the ability the parents to pay child support. 

It may also be necessary to file motions with the court seeking various forms of relief including use and enjoyment of the marital home, temporary support, temporary time sharing plans for children, attorney’s fees or other forms of relief that may be necessary and proper. 

If you and your spouse are unable to agree on the division of your marital estate or cannot agree on what is best for your children, the court will likely order you to mediation and a third party mediator will be brought in to help reach an agreement.  If mediation is unsuccessful, a trial will be necessary and the judge will make the final decision.

In Florida all family law or divorce proceedings are presided over and heard by a single judge at the trial court level.  This means that there are no jury trials in Florida divorce, custody or support cases and a single judge is charged with making the final decision involving you and your family.

Family law issues should never be taken lightly and there are many things to consider before filing including where you will live during and after the case, how you will support yourself, who will care for your children and many other case specific considerations. It may also be necessary to consider long term factors such as how you will support yourself after you are divorced, who will care for your children if you have to return to work and what role your spouse will play in your life and the lives of the children.

At Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. we are dedicated to helping you through almost all complex and stressful family law matters.  We are here to guide your case through the legal system, ensure that you understand your rights and obligations and fight for you and your children every step of the way.  To schedule an appointment, please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.