Final divorce hearing in florida

Spouses are responsible, however, for filing all necessary documents correctly, and both parties are required to appear before a judge together when the final dissolution is granted. You can retain an attorney to represent you even in an uncontested matter. The cost for such services is generally much less than in a contested case.


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  • Discovery; forms 12.930 - 12.932.
  • Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida.

Not everyone can use the simplified procedure. Couples can use the simplified dissolution of marriage only if all the following requirements are met:. If you and your spouse cannot meet all of the above requirements, you will have to follow the procedure of the regular dissolution of marriage process. There are substantial differences between a simplified and a regular dissolution of marriage. In a regular dissolution, each spouse has the right to examine and cross-examine the other as a witness. With a simplified dissolution, financial information may be requested by either party, but disclosing financial information is not required.

It is the public policy of Florida to ensure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or the marriage is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing. In most cases, parental responsibility for a minor child will be shared by both parents so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child.

Shared parenting requires both parents to confer so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly. The court will determine any or all of these matters if the parties cannot agree.

Time to prepare case: Approximately 3 weeks

In very rare cases, the court can order sole parental responsibility to one parent. To do so, the court must determine that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child. In determining parental responsibility, the court will approve or devise its own Parenting Plan, which includes responsibility for the daily tasks of child-rearing, the time-sharing schedule, and decision-making authority relating to health care, school and related activities.

The plan also will specify any technology that will be used for parent-child communication. The parents may agree on a Parenting Plan and submit it to the court for approval, or the court will determine these issues. The statute includes a list of factors for the court to consider in making these decisions. Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting course before entering a final dissolution of marriage.

Some courts require children of parents going through dissolution of marriage to attend a class specifically designed for them. One of the most difficult and complex areas of dissolution of marriage is the division of assets and debts. Assets may include cars, houses, retirement benefits pensions and k plans , business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property and other things of value.

There are two types of assets and debts in Florida — nonmarital and marital.

Generally, any asset or debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital and subject to distribution. The parties also may have assets or debts that are considered nonmarital and should be awarded to only one party. Although the court must begin with the presumption that all marital assets and debts are to be divided equally 50 percent each between the parties, the court may distribute the marital estate fairly or equitably not necessarily equally between the parties, regardless of how title is held.

A court decides equitable distribution before considering alimony.

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Your Day in Divorce Court

Equitable distribution is based on a long list of factors the court is required to consider. Factors to be considered by the court include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage; the duration of the marriage; and the economic circumstances of each spouse. The court should approve your agreement if the court finds it to be reasonable. If you and your spouse cannot agree, the court will divide the assets and debts during trial.

After equitable distribution, the court may consider an alimony award.

Divorce Hearing, Part 1

The court may grant alimony to either spouse. For the court to award alimony, the requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for alimony and the ability of the other party to pay. Once the requesting spouse has established a need and an ability to pay, the court must determine all relevant factors to determine the property type and amount of alimony to award.

For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater. The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.

Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to help a spouse make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a spouse with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs. There are limits as to the length and conditions of a bridge-the-gap alimony award.

Uncontested Divorce in Florida | DivorceNet

Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support through either the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials, or the acquisition of education, training or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials. The court must articulate a specific rehabilitative plan to award alimony so both parties clearly understand the expectations placed on the alimony recipient.

Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. There are limitations as to the length and modifiability of a durational alimony award.

Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet the needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage.

There are limitations as to when a court may award permanent periodic alimony, particularly for marriages of short or moderate duration. Some of the factors the court considers when determining the type and amount of the alimony award include, but are not limited to:.

What Happens During a Divorce Hearing in Florida?

Discovery includes the exchange of documents and answers to written or oral questions. There are important tax considerations in any dissolution of marriage, including the dependency deduction for children, taxability and deductibility of child support and alimony in their various forms, and effects of property transfers. Know the tax consequences of your settlement agreement before finalizing your dissolution of marriage.

It may be too late after the signing of a marital settlement agreement or entry of a final judgment to correct mistakes that have been made. You may want to obtain the services of an accountant in conjunction with your attorney to become better informed about this part of the dissolution process. You and your spouse each have a responsibility to financially support your children in accordance with your income and their needs.

Child support may be by direct payment or by indirect benefits, such as mortgage payments, insurance or payment of medical and dental expenses. Ordinarily, the obligation to support your child ends when that child reaches age 18, marries, is emancipated, joins the armed forces or dies.


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Other questions may need to be answered, depending on the circumstances of your case. Guidelines for the amount of support apply to all cases and are based on the income of the parents and the number of children, with adjustments for substantial overnight contact. If you have a problem receiving support payments from your spouse or former spouse, or the time-sharing plan is not being followed, you should bring this matter to the attention of the court. It is not legal to withhold time-sharing or child-support payments because either parent fails to pay court-ordered child support or violates the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan.

Florida law permits the court to restore the former name of a spouse in a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. A spouse who desires restoration of a name must request it, normally within the original petition or a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage. The court can restore the spouse only to the name from immediately prior to the marriage.

A spouse who wishes to change a name to anything other than the prior name normally has to take additional steps. The fees and costs for dissolution of marriage cases vary widely. The more complex and the more contested the issues, the more the dissolution will cost. At an initial meeting, your attorney may be able to provide an estimate of the total cost of a dissolution based on the information you provide; however, keep in mind that your attorney has no way to predict the future and that estimates are precisely that — estimates.

The final cost of your dissolution of marriage will depend on many variables that are unpredictable. Your attorney will expect you to pay a fee and the costs of litigation in accordance with the agreement you make. Sometimes the court will order your spouse to pay part or all of your fee and costs, but such awards are unpredictable and cannot be relied upon.

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You are primarily responsible for the payment of your legal fees. If the trial judge makes an error of law or there is an abuse of discretion, the appellate court may reverse the decision.

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You must decide quickly whether to appeal the final judgment, because an appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date that the order you are appealing is filed in the lower tribunal or court, or 30 days from the date that an order on a motion tolling the time to appeal is filed.

A good place to begin is with your own attorney, who can give you a quick review of your legal rights and advise you how to proceed. If your attorney does not handle dissolution of marriage cases, you might be referred to a family law attorney. If, however, your preferred attorney has been retained by your spouse, then that same attorney cannot also represent you.

In fact, if the attorney has been your family attorney, there may be a conflict of interest meaning the attorney cannot represent either of you. It is unethical for an attorney to represent both parties in a dissolution action and to give legal advice to both spouses. The Uncontested Final Hearing is a relatively straightforward court hearing that usually lasts less than five minutes. Typically, only one spouse is required to attend the hearing with their lawyer. During the hearing, the divorce court judge will review the settlement agreement and will question the spouse to make sure they actually want to be divorced, understand the settlement agreement, and were not forced into the agreement against their will.

In nearly all cases, as long as the settlement agreement needs the basic requirements of the law, the judge will accept and approve the agreement. Otherwise, the only other thing that really happens at this hearing is the judge will require proof that one spouse was a resident of Florida at least six months before the divorce was filed. As long as the residency requirements are established and the divorce court judge accepts the settlement agreement which nearly always happens , the judge will conclude the Uncontested Final Hearing by signing the Final Judgment and granting the divorce.