Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
Filing for divorce in Florida? Florida Statute 61.052 lays the ground work for filing for divorce in Florida. First, you must qualify by being a resident of Florida for at least six (6) months before filing a petition, then you must meet the requirements for a divorce to be granted.
In order to start a divorce, one party must file a petition for dissolution of marriage, which should allege the following: that the marriage is irretrievably broken or one spouse was adjudged mentally incapacitated at least three (3) years preceding the petition; whether there were children born, adopted or expected from the marriage; request for alimony; request child support; request for timesharing/parent plan; equitable distribution of marital assets and debts or unequal if there is a legitimate basis for the request (depletion of marital assets by one party); and any additional requests that may be sought.
The party that is served with the petition must file an answer to the petition within 20 days of the date of service. That party may also file a counter-petition requesting the same or similar things as those pled in the initial petition. If a counter-petition is filed, then an answer must also be filed to that petition within 20 days. Once everything is filed, then you can move on with the divorce by asking for a trial date.
During the time between filing a petition and before trial, there is a period of discovery, where both sides must provide documentation of their assets and debts along with a financial affidavit. There is a timeframe for all of the proper documentation to be provided to the other side.
Prior to attending a final hearing, the judge will require that you attend mediation to possibly settle the case before trial. Mediation is a chance for a neutral third party to assist both sides in working through some of the issues and hopefully settle their case without a trial.
There are many aspects to a divorce, but this provides an overview for what is required along the way. If you are serious about filing for divorce, then speak with a qualified attorney who can walk you through the process and who can make certain that your interests are protected.