The Florida Divorce Process

In order to seek a divorce and/or annulment in Florida, multiple hoops need to be jumped through with regard to the court process. The first step in the process is to seek a knowledgeable divorce attorney to assist you with the process and to determine whether you qualify for an annulment or whether you must seek a full divorce. Failure to seek professional help with regard to the divorce may result in filing the wrong forms and/or delay in the divorce process.

The first step in seeking a divorce is to determine which court to file the divorce Petition in. The Petition should be filed in the county where the marital residence or homestead exists. The spouse seeking the divorce is called the “Petitioner” and the other spouse is called the “Respondent.”

In Florida, to seek a divorce, the marriage must be irretrievably broken. In other words, the marriage must have failed to the point of no return. The other way to obtain a divorce in Florida is to prove that one of the spouses have been mentally incapacitated for three years prior to filing the Petition. The court can still consider other factors, such as cruelty and infidelity when considering alimony and/or marital support payments, however, if the marriage is not irretrievably broken, then the divorce has no grounds for filing.

The next step is serving the forms onto the other party. Depending on the situation, this can be done as easily as the other party accepting or as difficult as a Sheriff delivering the Petition onto your spouse. After service has occurred, there are certain financial disclosures that need to be prepared and submitted to your spouse within 45 days of the Divorce Petition. Then comes mandatory mediation prior to the setting of the court date. Once the court date comes near, the parties may either settle or head to court. In court, the judge will make an order with regard to the divorce, alimony, child support and the division of assets.