Uncontested divorces are estimated to comprise roughly 95% of all divorces in the United States. Simply stated, an uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are able to settle all aspects of the divorce involving property and children – e.g., equitable distribution, spousal support, parental responsibility and visitation, and child support. However, there is a difference between uncontested and simplified divorce in Florida.
Requirements for a Simplified Divorce in Florida
In order for a couple to utilize the Simplified Divorce process, the following requirements must be met:
●they both must agree to the use of this form of proceeding
●they must have no minor children or dependent children
●the wife must not be pregnant
●at least one of the parties must have lived in Florida for the previous six months
●the parties must agree on the division of all their assets and debts
●neither party can be seeking alimony
●both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
●the parties may waive the filing of financial affidavits
●both spouses must agree to give up the right to a trial and to appeal
●both spouses must sign the petition for simplified dissolution of marriage and attend a brief court hearing
Even if a couple meets these requirements at the time of filing, they need to think seriously about giving up the right to see financial documents that the other spouse may not be willing to provide. There is no going back if it turns out your spouse has not revealed all his or her assets. In the case of a Simplified Divorce, since you have given away your right to view the financial documents of your spouse, it is difficult, if not impossible, later on to assert that you have the right to a portion of an asset of which you were unaware at the time of the divorce. If there is a possibility that there may be additional assets, you may not want to file for a South Florida Simplified Divorce.
Thankfully, couples that have children and agree on all or most of the issues pertaining to their divorce have the option of the Florida Uncontested Divorce. With this option, they do not have to sign away their rights to view additional financial statements of their spouse. Although the amount of litigation can be reduced, there is a hearing, as with the Simplified Divorce. It is not always necessary for both parties to attend the hearing, however. In an uncontested divorce, the petitioner is the only party required to appear.
In either case, whether you wish to file a Petition for a Simplified Divorce or desire to pursue an Uncontested Divorce, obtaining the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable Florida Divorce Attorney will ensure that you know your rights as well as the future implications of your actions. Depending on which type of divorce you qualify for, you must have a marital settlement agreement for division of assets and debts, a detailed parenting plan for your children if there are any, and a child support order that conforms to statute. A knowledgeable attorney will ensure that all legal bases are covered, thereby minimizing the possibility of error in the divorce papers. Unfortunately, mistakes made even in the preparation of Uncontested Divorce documents often result in future corrective filings which require additional time and expense.
The Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. provide excellent family law services to individuals in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Delray Beach, Broward County, Martin County, and Palm Beach County. Please contact us today at 561-429-3924 to schedule a consultation.