Divorce can be a difficult and emotional time, but it is also a time when decisions must be made that may impact your future and the future of your children. When pursuing a divorce, you may not know where to turn, how to file for divorce or what kind of divorce to seek.
The only type of divorce in Florida is no-fault divorce, which means neither party can claim the reason for divorce is because their spouse cheated or abandoned them. However, fault can be used as a basis for determining distribution of marital assets and liabilities, child custody, visitation rights and domestic support.
Either or both spouses can file for divorce in Florida, and in order to file for divorce, the petitioner is required to show the marriage existed; one or both parties have resided in Florida for the six months preceding filing for divorce; and the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If you are thinking about filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers in the Florida Panhandle, contact an experienced family lawyer who can help you achieve your divorce as quickly and painless as possible.
Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC if you have considered filing for divorce in the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola, Destin and Panama City. The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s divorce and family laws. Contact the Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at about filing for divorce throughout Destin and South Walton.
Section 61.046 of the Florida Statutes defines certain terms and definitions that are helpful to know when filing for divorce. The following are a few of the most commonly used terms.
An uncontested divorce or simplified divorce in Florida is one where a married couple agrees to all terms of the divorce or dissolution of their marriage. This type of divorce is usually considered an easier form of divorce and is resolved quicker than contested divorce. An uncontested divorce can occur with or without children, but both parties must agree on every issue to the divorce, including custody, visitation, property division, alimony and child support.
A contested divorce in Florida occurs when one or both parties have decided to terminate the marital relationship, but they do not agree on every issue to the divorce or dissolution of marriage. This form of divorce is typically lengthy and very complicated.
A simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida is another type of uncontested divorce, but it involves several requirements that the couple must meet in order to qualify for this form of divorce. Both parties to the marriage must certify under oath:
Collaborative divorce in Florida is a cooperative approach to divorce that uses voluntary production of documents, mediation, conferences between both parties, and is a middle type of divorce between contested divorces and uncontested divorces.
There are certain procedural requirements a married couple must meet before their divorce can be complete. According to Stat. § 61.021, prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, one or both parties must have resided in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce. Once the residency requirement has been met, the petition must state the marriage is irretrievably broken and is then filed with the court by the petitioner, or both parties if the divorce is uncontested.
If the divorce is contested, the petitioner is required to legally serve the petition to the opposing party, the respondent. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on dissolving their marriage, they will have a trial where they can present their case and cross-examine each other. The judge will then make a decision regarding the contested issues and will sign the order, or the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Parties in an uncontested divorce are required to create a Marital Settlement Agreement, where each issue to the divorce is addressed and is ultimately incorporated into the final order. The agreement must be signed by both parties and presented to the court at the final hearing.
The hearing to finalize the divorce in an uncontested divorce is scheduled at least 20 days after the parties file for divorce. At the final judgment hearing, if both parties are present and agree to waive the objection period, the judge will immediately sign the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. If they parties do not waive this period, the judge will sign the order 15 days after the hearing if there are no objections to any agreement between the parties.
Every divorce involves a variety of issues that must be addressed in such a way that is best for your particular situation. Some of the most common issues that need to be resolved in a divorce are listed below.
Child Support – The court may order at any time in a divorce proceeding one or both parents to pay support and provide health insurance to the other parent or a third party who has custody of the child in order to support the child. Child support in Florida is calculated by a mathematical formula as set forth in the Florida Statutes.
Child Custody and Visitation – The most common form of parenting plan (which involves both child custody and visitation) is the shared parental responsibility plan where, if it is in the best interest of the children, both parents have a right to share in making major decisions for both children. Even if one parent has primary custody of the children, both parents share the decision-making under this type of parenting plan. Sole parental responsibility can be given to one parent if shared parental responsibility would be detrimental the children.
Modification – After a support or custody plan has been ordered by the judge, one or both parties may seek a modification of the order for a number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons to modify an existing agreement are to change the amount of support, which parent is the primary conservator, to add or remove a child from support, or if a parent moves to another state.
Spousal Support or Maintenance (Alimony) – After a couple has divorced or while a divorce is pending, the judge may order one party to pay spousal support to the other party, which is primarily based on the length of the marriage, the need for one party for support, the ability of the other party to pay the support and the standard of living the couple has enjoyed together. The three types of alimony are rehabilitative, lump sum and permanent.
Property Division – Florida law requires all marital assets to be divided based on an equitable distribution, which means each spouse receives 50% of the marital estate. However, there are often disputes as to what is considered a marital asset, whether an item was received before or after marriage, and whether an item was a gift during a marriage.
Florida Statutes Online – This link is to Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes, which contains the state’s laws regarding divorce. This chapter defines all elements to divorce, including alimony issues, child custody, and parenting responsibility.
Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure – This link is to the rules of procedure followed by the courts when making the decision to grant a divorce. The rules of procedure outline form required by both parties, waiting period after filing certain documents and other procedures courts in Florida follow when granting a divorce.
First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida – This link is to the First Judicial Circuit Court of Florida’s website, which provides information and resources on various aspects of family law in the Florida Panhandle, including child support enforcement, domestic violence and civil injunctions, family law mediations and juvenile court services. The First Judicial Circuit of Florida family court administration in Okaloosa County can be contacted at:Okaloosa County Courthouse
Florida Department of Children and Families – This governmental department provides resources and information to individuals who have been victims of domestic violence and promotes the prevention of domestic violence throughout the state. The First Judicial Circuit is located at:Circuit 1 Administrator
If you want to learn more about filing for divorce or desire to file for divorce throughout the Florida Panhandle, contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today. Our firm helps clients with all kinds of family law matters in communities throughout Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, Bay County, Walton County, Holmes County, Washington County, and Escambia County.
Clay Adkinson of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC is an experienced DeFuniak Springs family law attorney who will make every effort to help you dissolve your marriage in a speedy manner. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation at or send an online message about your divorce in the Florida Panhandle.