Divorce is a sensitive and emotional process. In Florida, there are two general types of divorce: uncontested and contested. Uncontested divorce, also known as cooperative divorce, is typically a cheaper, shorter, and easier process than contested divorce, which may have to go through a formal court trial. However, you must meet certain criteria to be eligible for an uncontested divorce.
Here’s what you need to know:
Uncontested Divorce – Eligibility & Process
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means you don’t have to file a grounds for divorce. If you and your spouse both agree that the marriage is completely broken, and that it is irreconcilable, you may seek a divorce. Uncontested divorce allows couples to file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution, which will be reviewed by a judge. Once you appear at the hearing, the judge will make a final determination, and you will be legally divorced.
In order to be eligible for this simplified process, you must meet several factors:
- You must have no children under the age of 18
- You must agree on the division of debts and property
- You must not seek alimony
- Either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months
Furthermore, you must not be expecting a child, and you both must agree that the marriage is irreconcilable. If you meet these standards, you will be able to pursue a simplified divorce. This can provide many benefits. It will allow you to avoid the costly litigation process, and will also reduce the emotional tension that is often present in contested divorce cases.
Contested Divorce – What It Means in Florida
Contested divorce typically means you and your spouse are not able to agree on the important decisions regarding the divorce. These include child support and alimony payments, child custody agreements, and the division of assets and property. However, even if you do agree on these aspects, you may still have to proceed with a contested divorce if you don’t meet the requirements for an uncontested or simplified divorce.
What does this mean for your case? Having a contested divorce in Florida does not automatically mean you have to get embroiled in a long and arduous court trial. In fact, you may be able to use mediation to reach a divorce settlement without having to go to court. Mediation uses an impartial mediator to act as a go-between so you and your spouse can make decisions regarding the divorce. If you and your spouse are unable to carry on a conversation without arguing, the mediator may put you in separate rooms and facilitate negotiations so you don't have to endure face-to-face interactions.
Mediation, as a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is very beneficial. It is typically resolved within a matter of weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the case. Furthermore, it is a cost-effective solution. However, if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on the important decisions, you may have to use formal litigation. This means you will both have to present evidence in support of your arguments in court, and trust a judge make a final determination regarding your case.
Whether You Are Facing Contested or Uncontested Divorce, Our Firm Is Ready to Help!
At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., we provide compassionate representation to clients facing divorce. We can discuss your options and determine if you are eligible for a simplified divorce. Whatever your situation, our Clearwater divorce attorneys have the experience to handle any legal issues that may arise. We can advise you on important decisions and protect your interests from start to finish.
Contact our team of passionate divorce attorneys today. We are available to take your call 24/7.