Parties who desire to amicably file for divorce in Florida, or dissolve their marriage, usually seek an uncontested divorce. This type of divorce is typically considered an easy divorce or a simplified dissolution of marriage. Although parties who file for an uncontested dissolution of marriage may initially believe they can file for divorce without legal advice, many problems and disputes may arise, such as financial matters or child custody issues.
An uncontested divorce can occur with or without children, but both parties MUST agree on every issue, including custody, visitation, property division, and support.
If you think you want to pursue an uncontested divorce in Destin, contact an attorney experienced in family law who can help you identify any issues you may not have considered or to make sure you have covered everything necessary for filing.
Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a consultation if you have considered divorce in the Florida Panhandle, including the areas of Crestview, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Milton, Navarre, DeFuniak Springs, Pensacola and Panama City. The attorneys of Adkinson Law Firm, LLC are knowledgeable in all areas of Florida’s divorce laws.
Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC for a free consultation today at about your divorce throughout Destin and South Walton.
The following divorce terms and definitions are defined in Fla. Stat. § 61.046:
An uncontested divorce is not the same as a simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida. Although a simplified divorce is an uncontested divorce, an uncontested divorce is not necessarily a simplified divorce.
Simplified divorce has several requirements, which each party is required to meet in order to qualify for this kind of divorce. Alternatively, uncontested divorce only requires the parties to agree on every issue to the divorce. For example, if the parties agree on every issue and have children, they can seek an uncontested divorce. However, if the parties have no children, or children older than 18 years old, they can seek a simplified dissolution of marriage.
Additionally, in an uncontested dissolution of marriage, both parties have the right to examine and cross-examine each other as a witness and to obtain financial documents that include income, expenses, assets, and liabilities before they agree on a settlement. In a simplified dissolution, financial information is not required to be given to the other party, but the parties may request the information.
A couple seeking to dissolve their marriage can file for a simplified divorce in Florida if they meet certain qualifications. Both parties are required to agree the marriage bond is irretrievably broken and cannot be reconciled and they both must be present at the time of filing and at the final hearing. Additionally, both parties must certify under oath:
Both parties must file a joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and then file a notarized Waiver of Service of Process and Answer, which must be signed by the spouses. Both parties must appear in court and testify as to all of these matters at a final hearing for the divorce, which is scheduled at the earliest possible date depending on the court’s schedule. However, both parties must wait a mandatory 20 days before the hearing can be held. If all of the procedural requirements are correctly followed, the court will then grant the divorce and sign the order.
Many times, both parties will not agree to all of the terms, someone may have questions regarding legal issues, or disputes may arise once a couple has made the decision to file for a simplified divorce. In order to make certain you receive the most desirable outcome from your divorce or to ensure you don’t agree to something you did not want to, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Destin divorce attorney, even if you think a simplified divorce may apply in your situation.
Before filing for divorce, at least one party must be a Florida resident for the six months preceding filing for divorce, according to Fla. Stat. § 61.021. If this period has been met, in an uncontested divorce, both parties must jointly file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court where they reside. This petition must state the marriage is irretrievably broken according to Fla. Stat. § 61.052. A notarized Waiver of Service of Process and Answer must then be filed by the court, which must be signed by the party who would have received service.
Parties in an uncontested divorce are required to make an agreement, called the Marital Settlement Agreement, where they have addressed each issue to the divorce, such as property settlements, parental responsibility, and any other post-divorce agreements. This agreement must be signed by both parties and presented to the court at the final hearing. This agreement will then be incorporated into the final order.
Parties in an uncontested divorce must also provide financial documents and affidavits to each other and the court before the judge will sign the order, in addition to child support guidelines if there are children to the marriage.
A hearing to finalize the divorce is then scheduled at the earliest possible date to finalize the divorce, must be 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 order called 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.
The entire uncontested divorce process usually only takes a few weeks to complete.
If you plan to file for divorce throughout the Florida Panhandle, make sure you have experienced legal representation. Adkinson Law Firm, LLC represents clients 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 make your divorce as smooth as possible. Contact Adkinson Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation at or send an online message about your divorce today.