Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
What are the requirements for getting an uncontested divorce in Florida?
Technically there is no law that defines an “uncontested divorce” however an uncontested divorce is typically considered one in which the parties are in complete agreement regarding all issues of the divorce and no trial is needed. To file an “uncontested divorce,” you and your spouse must be in agreement on all issues prior to filing your divorce paperwork with the Court.
Even Tom Brady and Gisele filed for an uncontested Florida divorce (after mediation with their respective attorneys) showing that even high net worth cases can be resolved through the uncontested divorce process.
What are the issues that you and your spouse must work out for an uncontested divorce?
The 3 main issues that must be resolved to qualify for an uncontested divorce are equitable distribution, alimony, and parenting or time-sharing. These issues may be resolved between the spouses directly or the parties may reach a settlement agreement after attending mediation. It is highly recommended that each spouse be represented by a qualified divorce lawyer at mediation to ensure they understand their rights regarding equitable distribution, alimony, parenting issues, and what they are agreeing to at mediation.
- Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities – If you and your spouse acquired any assets (stuff you own) or liabilities (money you owe) during your marriage, then you do have marital assets and liabilities.
If you and your spouse have marital assets and liabilities, you will need to prepare and sign a Marital Settlement Agreement that spells out which spouse will be awarded each asset and liability. Before signing the marital settlement agreement, Florida law requires that you and your spouse need to make a full financial disclosure. The Financial Disclosure has two parts—a Financial Affidavit and an exchange of financial documents.
A Financial Affidavit MUST be filed with the Court before your divorce will be granted unless you filed a Simplified Divorce.
The exchange of financial documents can be waived if both parties agree. Otherwise, a full list of the required documents can be found in Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285.
- Alimony – You and your spouse must agree on whether either of you will pay alimony to the other, and if so, how much and for what duration. You may both agree to waive your right to alimony. If either spouse has questions about whether or not there should be alimony paid to a spouse, both spouses should consult a Florida divorce attorney to fully understand their rights. An agreement to pay alimony may be modifiable and have long term consequences to the payor spouse.
- Parenting Issues – There are three different areas that must be addressed if you and your spouse have any dependent or minor children. (If you and your spouse have a child who will be dependent on you and your spouse into adulthood due to a disability, you should speak with a licensed family law attorney.) Even though you and your spouse may agree on a parenting plan, the court still must find that the parenting plan is in the best interest of the child.
- Parental Responsibility – In Florida, parental responsibility means who will make the major decisions affecting your child’s life. This typically includes decisions regarding medical care, education, and religious upbringing. Most parents agree to shared parental responsibility, meaning that you and your spouse will make decisions affecting the children together. If you and your spouse do not agree to shared parental responsibility, we recommend that you consult with a Florida divorce attorney.
- Parenting Plan – Before filing an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must prepare and sign a Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan governs all aspects of your post-divorce co-parenting relationship. The Parenting Plan will address when the children will spend time with each parent (timesharing), holiday timesharing, communication between the parents, communication between each parent and the children, out of state travel, and many other issues. The Florida Supreme Court publishes a standard Parenting Plan form that you can reference here.
- Child Support – Under Florida law, both parents have an obligation to financially support their children. The Court will require you to file a document called a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. The Child Support Guidelines Worksheet takes into account both parents’ income, certain expenses for the child (health insurance, child care, and non-covered medical expenses), and the amount of overnights each parent spends with the children. If you and your spouse want to deviate (agree to a different amount) from what you calculate on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, you should contact a Florida divorce attorney as there are additional motions and evidence required in order for a judge to order an amount of child support that is different from what is calculated on the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.
As you can see, if you have assets and minor children, you and your spouse have a lot of issues to work out prior to filing an “uncontested divorce.” Hiring a Florida uncontested divorce attorney can help you and your spouse make sure that you cover all your bases and that there are no delays in having your case finalized. A Florida uncontested divorce attorney can also represent you in mediation to help ensure you come to a fair agreement before filing an uncontested divorce.
As with any Florida divorce, there is a 20 day waiting period after filing an “uncontested divorce” before the judge can enter a Final Judgment dissolving your marriage so don’t expect the divorce to be finalized overnight. Some counties in Florida do however allow you to avoid court altogether & can often finalize the divorce shortly after the 20 day waiting period.
Pinellas Family Lawyer offers hassle free uncontested divorce paperwork preparation for as little as $895 for an uncontested divorce with no assets and no children. Schedule a free 15 minute consultation with a licensed Florida divorce lawyer to start the uncontested divorce process.
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