Timeline for Divorce in Florida
For many couples, the decision to get a divorce comes after multiple attempts to work through problems. By the time a divorce attorney is consulted, the spouses may already be living separate and apart, eager to put the situation behind them and move on with their lives. Questions regarding how long it takes to get a divorce in Florida are common. While each case is different and it is difficult to estimate how long it will take to fulfill the legal requirements, the type of divorce you are seeking will have a major influence on when your divorce is finally granted.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce In Florida
Under the Florida Statutes, there are issues that need to be resolved before a final divorce decree can be issued. While there is no formal requirement in terms of the length of separation, both parties must be a resident of the state for six months or longer before a divorce petition can be filed. Any issues regarding the terms of the divorce must also be addressed. There are basically two types of divorce proceedings in Florida:
This is where both parties agree to the divorce, as well as the terms involving any marital property or children. Once your petition is filed, it is served on your spouse, who has twenty days to respond. Provided there are no disagreements, technically the divorce can be granted immediately after. Often, it takes some coordinating of schedules between both parties and the court clerk to arrange hearing dates. As a result, it can take two or three months for your divorce to actually be finalized.
Contested cases are those in which couples cannot reach agreement over the terms surrounding the divorce. Issues that cause divorce proceedings to stretch out for a period of months or even years include:
- Disputes over the division of property and assets;
- Property valuations and allegations of hidden assets;
- Disputes over child time sharing and parenting plans;
- Disputes over whether alimony is awarded.
Fault grounds are not required to obtain a divorce in Florida, but marital misconduct could factor in any divorce settlement agreements. In the event the couple is unable to reach agreements between themselves and negotiations with their attorneys, the judge may require them to attend court ordered mediation before an impartial third party. Mediators are trained and approved through the Florida Courts, and while they cannot force you to reach an agreement, they can make recommendations in your case. If an agreement still cannot be reached, the judge may decide on the issues before issuing a final order in the matter.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
Whether you are dealing with an uncontested divorce or one involving heated disputes, it is important to have an experienced Florida divorce attorney on your side to ensure your rights and interests are protected. Reach out and contact attorney Vanessa L. Prieto to request a free consultation in our Fort Lauderdale office today to see how we can assist you.