Spouses filing for divorce in Florida can choose either simplified or regular dissolution of marriage, depending on their specific circumstances. If one or both parties lives in the state, you should file in the county where you and/or your spouse lives.
Before beginning the legal process for divorce in Florida, determine the type of dissolution that works best for you.
Simplified divorce process
If you and your spouse have no children younger than 18 and are not currently expecting a child, you may qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage. This process tends to be faster and less costly than a standard divorce, because the court does not mandate financial disclosure. However, you and your former spouse must both waive alimony and agree on the division of your marital property and debts.
Regular divorce process
If you and your spouse have minor children, or if you cannot agree on property division or other financial matters, you must file for a regular dissolution of marriage. Your divorce petition must outline your requests and preferences for child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. When one spouse files, the court notifies the other spouse and gives him or her 20 days to respond with a separate petition. Both parties must submit all financial information requested by the court within 45 days of the initial divorce filing.
When the spouses’ petitions conflict, the judge may order mediation to attempt reconciliation on those matters. Otherwise, the court will schedule a divorce hearing where both parties can support their petitions with evidence.
When spouses do not agree on one or more major issues in the divorce, the court may order mediation. If mediation and other measures are unsuccessful, a judge decides these issues at a final hearing, at which both spouses may present evidence.
Certain guidelines apply to the final divorce decree when the court makes a ruling. Debts and assets receive equitable (fair, but not necessarily equal) division according to Florida law. If you have children, the parenting plan must serve their best interests, ideally including contact with both parents. Spousal support depends on income, age, standard of living, health and the length of the marriage.