Florida Women's Law Group
What You Need To Know About An Uncontested Divorce In FloridaAuthor: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Oct 26 2021
Uncontested Divorce in Florida
Florida in a no-fault state which means that you do not to prove anything to end your marriage. The only requirement is irreconcilable differences and that one of the spouses must be a Florida resident for six months. There are two types of divorces in Florida, uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is when both parties are in full agreement of the issues on their own. A contested divorce, the most common form, is when spouses are unable to mutually agree on the issues in the divorce. It can be one issue or many, if there is not 100% agreement it is deemed contested. In this scenario the couple turns to mediation or the judge to rule on the issues.
What is an Uncontested Divorce
Uncontested divorces, or a simple divorce, is when both spouses reach a full agreement on all terms before the case has been filed with the courts. In this case, both spouses agree on alimony, property, asset and debt distribution, child custody and child support. If there is one item that cannot be agreed upon and there needs to be judge involvement it is then contested. It is important to note that all divorces go to court, only a judge can sign the Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage, which grants the divorce.
In an uncontested divorce in Florida, a petition is filed with the courts seeking the dissolution of the marriage. A Marital Settlement Agreement is filed that details every issue that the spouses have agreed on and details a parenting plan when children are involved. The ideal situation for an uncontested divorce is when there are no children and there are not many assets or debts to divide. There is a minimum 20 day waiting period after the initial filing before a divorce can be granted. An uncontested divorce could be finalized in about 30 days but it depends on the schedule of the courts.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
Divorce is hard and it can be very painful. Most couples want to end the marriage quickly and with the least amount of conflict as possible. An uncontested divorce is the fastest way to end a marriage and the least costly. Since there isn’t fighting over issues, the case doesn’t get dragged on thus eliminating time and attorney costs.
Do You Need an Attorney?
It is not required in Florida to have an attorney file your divorce paperwork. However, it is a good idea to have a family law attorney review your settlement to ensure your interests are protected. An uncontested divorce has the potential to have mistakes or omissions if constructed by someone that is unfamiliar with the law. Once the settlement is filed it is very hard to change after the fact, especially when it is uncontested because the outcome is based on a collaborative effort.
When Is an Uncontested Divorce the Not a Good Option?
An uncontested divorce may seem like the best option for its speed and affordability but there are several situations in which it not ideal:
- If there are minor children or one spouse is pregnant, uncontested can be difficult. Custody and child support can become contentious, and many parents argue over the future of the children and how their time is divided.
- If there is a large amount of assets or debts it can be difficult to divide them fairly without outside assistance. Or if there is a business involved it makes the financial aspect more complex.
- If one spouse is the primary breadwinner and has more control of the family assets what is considered equitable can become a point of discord.
- When there is a power imbalance in the marriage, one spouse is likely to be bullied into an agreement that is not beneficial to them.
- A marriage that has a lot of anger and resentment will be difficult to dissolve on their own. If there is a lot of hostility it will be impossible to agree on issues.
- Relationships that have a history of domestic, financial or emotional abuse will need assistance from the court to ensure that the abused partner is provided for in the divorce.
- In the situation where one spouse wants to divorce and the other does not, it will be hard to reach a mutually beneficial settlement without the judge.
An uncontested divorce in Florida can be a good solution to ending a marriage if it is in the best interests of both parties. It can save time and money and allow both spouses the opportunity to move on with their lives. Even if it is the friendliest of divorces it is in your best interest to have an attorney review the paperwork prior to filing to ensure it is all completed accurately and completely.
At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have the experience, resources, and skills to provide you with empathetic and compassionate legal services. We are here to provide legal advice and the assistance you need during mediation and divorce. We represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.