Even though you know your marriage is over, divorce can become emotionally complex. You may need to resolve issues like property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. But a Tampa divorce lawyer can help make the legal process less complicated and frustrating.
Contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A., for a free, confidential case review. You’ll be able to speak with a divorce lawyer in Tampa about your legal options. Let our firm help guide you through a divorce with our personalized attention and empathetic client service. We will vigorously advocate your rights and interests so that you have a bright start to the next chapter of your life.
Are There Different Types of Divorce in Florida?
Florida has abolished “at-fault” divorces, in which a spouse had to prove that the other spouse’s “fault” or misconduct caused the failure of the marriage. Today, all divorces in Florida proceed as no-fault divorces, which means that a spouse may seek a divorce when the marriage has become “irretrievably broken” and the spouses have no reasonable expectation of reconciliation.
Florida has two procedures for a divorce: “simplified dissolution of marriage” and a “regular dissolution of marriage.” A simplified dissolution of marriage allows spouses to avoid the need and expense of extended litigation. However, couples must meet specific requirements to file for a simplified dissolution of marriage:
- Both spouses agree to a simplified dissolution of marriage.
- Both spouses agree that the marriage has become irretrievably broken.
- The couple has no minor or dependent children.
- Neither spouse is pregnant.
- At least one spouse has resided in Florida for the past six months.
- The parties have agreed on the division of the marital estate.
- Neither spouse requests alimony.
Couples who do not qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage must proceed with a regular dissolution of marriage. Regular dissolutions may be contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the spouses have not settled all outstanding issues, and the court must hold a trial to resolve those disputes. An uncontested divorce means the parties have settled all issues through a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or divorce settlement.
What Should I Consider in Divorce?
Things you may want to consider when filing for divorce include the following:
How Much Will a Divorce Cost?
Consider the expenses you may incur if you litigate any outstanding issues or disputes with your spouse. You may want to negotiate a settlement with your spouse rather than go to trial.
What Do You Own?
Although you must split up marital assets and liabilities, you can keep any property or money you brought into the marriage.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce in Florida?
Although Florida law does not require you to hire a lawyer to file for a divorce, having legal representation can make the process easier and more successful.
An attorney can explain the divorce process so you can decide whether you want to go through the expense and emotional trauma of splitting up. Your lawyer can also discuss your legal options and prepare a case strategy to achieve your goals.
An attorney can review legal documents, such as pre or postnuptial agreements or proposed divorce settlements, to ensure they fairly serve your interests. Your lawyer can also prepare your divorce petition and other court filings.
Finally, your divorce attorney will advocate for you at the negotiating table or in court.
How Long Does a Divorce in Florida Take to Complete?
The duration of a divorce case will depend on various factors, including:
- The type of divorce (simplified, uncontested, contested)
- Whether the couple has minor or dependent children
- The complexity of the couple’s assets
- Whether the spouses have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or can settle before filing for divorce or during litigation
- The schedule and availability of the family court
At a minimum, the law requires a 20-day waiting period after filing the divorce petition before the family court can finalize the divorce judgment. A simplified divorce can take as little as a month to complete. Uncontested divorces usually take several weeks to reach final judgment. A contested divorce can take several months to several years, although spouses can speed up a contested divorce by settling some or all the outstanding issues.