Attending a Final Hearing in a Florida Divorce: What Should You Expect?

Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.

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If you live and Florida and have filed for divorce and now have an agreement regarding the dissolution of marriage, then you may be attending a final hearing on the Consent Final Judgment. If you have reached an agreement that has been finalized in writing, then the next step is for one party to attend a final hearing. A final hearing requires testimony, but it is limited to the following:

Testimony and proof to the court that you were a resident of Florida for at least six (6) months before the filing of the divorce. In order to show the court that you have met the residency requirement, you must provide proof of residency with a Florida driver’s license, Florida voter registration card, etc. This allows the Judge to know that you have met the residency requirement per Florida Statute 61.021.

Testimony must be given to the Court that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You may be asked to explain why and a simple answer can be provided, such as, “We no longer love one another.” The Judge does not need to have full details for reason you are seeking a divorce.

If there are children born or expected of the marriage or the testifying party denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, then the Court may do the following:

a) Order one or both parties to attend counseling
b) Continue the divorce proceedings for a reasonable period of time, often three (3) months.
c) Other action found reasonable and in the best interest of the children

The only thing left to testify to is whether you have actually reached an agreement and that the order presented to the Court formalizes the agreement in writing. You may be asked whether it properly lays out alimony, child support, timesharing and parenting plans, and distribution of marital property. Also, you must testify that the signatures on the agreement are yours and the other party’s.