Divorce Attorney Serving St. Petersburg, FL

upset couple looking away from each other

Even when the decision to end a marriage is the right one, the divorce process can be complicated, drawn out, and emotionally taxing. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. Florida Law Advisers, P.A., is ready to be your advocate, support system, and legal guide. You can count on us to prioritize your needs and protect your rights as we seek a satisfactory conclusion to your case.

Ready to find out what our team can do for you? Then call us for a free consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL to get started.

What Are the Steps for Filing for Divorce in Florida?

There are three types of divorce in Florida, each of which has its own steps that must be followed.

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the pertinent issues, such as:

  • Child custody and visitation if they share children
  • How to divide marital assets and debts
  • Spousal support/alimony

Getting an uncontested divorce requires these steps:

  • Filing the Petition – The process begins when one spouse completes and files the divorce petition with the court.
  • Serving the Papers – The county sheriff or a process server will deliver the petition and the attached documentation directly to the other spouse, who is called the responding spouse.
  • Answering the Petition – The responding spouse must file their answer to the petition within 20 days.
  • Filing Disclosures – Each spouse must file a family law financial affidavit within 45 days after service of the petition. The filing spouse can file the affidavit at the same time they file the initial petition. The affidavit isn’t necessary if they have a written agreement settling their finances and don’t have minor children.
  • Scheduling a Hearing – The petitioning spouse should request a hearing by contacting the court clerk. The hearing will be before a judge who must ensure everything is in order before issuing the final divorce judgment.

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

A simplified dissolution of marriage is a more streamlined process of divorce in Florida. You can file for simplified dissolution if neither of you contests the divorce and you meet the following requirements:

  • There are no minor or dependent children from the marriage
  • You are willing to attend the final court hearing
  • You agree that saving the marriage isn’t possible
  • No one requests alimony
  • You are willing to give up the right to a trial and appeal
  • You are willing to sign the petition in the court clerk’s office
  • You are satisfied with the property and debt division agreement

Neither spouse has to serve the divorce petition and wait for the other spouse to file their answer with the court. Either the court clerk will set the hearing date or you will request one, depending on the county where you file.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce means the spouses disagree about issues that must be resolved before the divorce is finalized, such as alimony, property division, or child custody. The process requires a judge to intervene and resolve the disputes.

Judges often schedule mandatory mediation for the couple to attempt to settle outside of court. If unsuccessful, the judge will decide on the contested issues.

If you are concerned about how to file or apply for divorce in Florida, a St. Petersburg family law attorney can help you determine the best route to take given your particular situation.