What Exactly is an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?
I’m sure you’ve heard the term “uncontested divorce” thrown around, but what does it mean? An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on all aspects of your divorce, including property division, debts, child custody and support if applicable, and the grounds for divorce.
This method is opposed to a contested divorce, where you and your spouse do not agree on one or more issues, requiring intervention from the courts.
The key benefit of an uncontested divorce is that it allows you to finalize your divorce faster, easier, and often much cheaper since you avoid legal battles in court. But just because you and your spouse agree to the divorce does not necessarily mean the entire process will be quick and smooth.
Necessary paperwork, forms, procedures, and possible hearings are still required, so guidance from an experienced divorce attorney can prove invaluable.
What Are the Requirements to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?
Before filing for any divorce in Florida, including an uncontested one, a couple must satisfy a few fundamental requirements:
- You or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months. This rule establishes the “residency” requirement for divorce.
- Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning the reason or blame for the divorce does not impact your ability to get one. The law only requires you to allege your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
- You and your spouse must agree upfront on critical divorce details like alimony, child custody and support, and division of assets and debts acquired during marriage. Your marital settlement agreement (MSA) will include your agreed terms.
Meeting these requirements allows you to file the initial petition to start your divorce. However, you must also follow compulsory steps to finalize your uncontested divorce successfully.
Navigating Florida’s Uncontested Divorce Process from Start to Finish
Let’s have a look at the entire process.
Filing the Petition
The first step is filing what’s known as a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the courts. This petition formally asks a judge to dissolve your marriage. There are also a few key things that a filing spouse must do:
- Gather specific documents like financial affidavits disclosing income, assets, debts, copies of prenups or separation agreements if applicable, and a parenting plan when dependent children are involved.
- Pay Florida’s court filing fee, which averages $409 in 2023.
- Legally serve the respondent spouse with a summons and copies of all documents filed with the court. A process server usually performs this service.
Reaching a Marital Settlement Agreement
Reaching mutually agreeable terms on all divorce issues is essential to keeping your case uncontested. You must memorialize these promises in your MSA, which must be filed with the courts.
Some key areas where you and your spouse must fully settle include:
- Child custody arrangements – Your parenting plan should spell out the specifics like timesharing schedules and parental responsibility.
- Child support – Florida’s child support guidelines determine
Spousal support or alimony – It must be decided if one spouse should receive post-divorce financial support from the other, the amount, and for how long.
- Division of assets and debts – This separation includes bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, investments, and more acquired during the marriage.
The Final Divorce Hearing
Once you’ve filed all completed paperwork like your petition, financial affidavits, parenting plan, MSA, and any other needed Florida divorce forms, the court may schedule a final hearing.
This brief trial completes the uncontested process.
- You must prove to the judge your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that no prospect of reconciliation exists.
- Your proposed MSA will be approved and incorporated into your final divorce judgment if found equitable.
It Pays to Work With an Experienced Divorce Attorney
While an uncontested divorce avoids courtroom conflicts, the process still involves critical legal documents, Florida statutes, and deadlines you or your spouse could easily miss when going at it alone.
This mishap can sabotage an otherwise smooth divorce proceeding. Our knowledgeable Florida divorce attorneys regularly guide clients through uncontested divorces, helping ensure everything is done correctly for the best possible outcome.
Benefits of attorney guidance with an uncontested divorce can include:
- Accurately completing all required Florida divorce forms and filings.
- Strategic advice when negotiating your marital settlement agreement.
- Higher approval odds for your proposed divorce settlement terms.
- Savings of thousands over the DIY divorce learning curve.
- Lower stress when handling logistics like filing or serving papers, scheduling hearings, and more.
If you believe you qualify for and desire an uncontested divorce in Florida, our attorneys are here to consult you about your options and legal rights.
Make a Clean Break With Vollrath Law’s FL Divorce Attorneys
Agreeing upfront on divorce terms speeds things up and keeps it peaceful—especially if kids or shared money are involved.
By teaming up to settle alimony, child support, property split, and custody on your own terms, you skip the whole messy court battle down the road. That saves tons in legal fees and stress while respecting everyone’s needs.
If a values-focused law firm to help mediate sounds good, contact our team at Vollrath Law. For years, we’ve helped Florida couples divorce with dignity and resources intact.
Schedule a chat to talk through an amicable process tailored to your family’s situation. We’ll pave the way to split smoothly so you can shift ahead in peace. Contact us today to start fresh.