Divorce in Florida

A spouse seeking a divorce in Florida would file a dissolution of marriage proceeding. Florida is a no-fault state, and neither party must prove any fault or wrongdoing of the other. At least one of the spouses in the divorce proceeding must have resided in Florida for the six month period before the filing of the lawsuit. There are certain jurisdictional requirements that must be met in order to file a dissolution of marriage in Florida. Patricia will discuss these requirements in detail with you during your consultation.

Both spouses in a divorce are referred to as the “parties.” The spouse filing the action is called the “Petitioner,” and the responding spouse is called the “Respondent.” The Petitioner files a lawsuit called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage,” along with other required documents, and the respondent is served by a process server.  After the respondent is served, he or she must file an answer/response within 20 days. The answer is the document in which the responding party agrees to (admits) or disagrees with (denies) each of the allegations or requests made by the filing spouse in the petition.

During the dissolution of marriage proceeding, both parties are required to file and exchange financial affidavits and other important financial documents. This process is generally referred to as “discovery.”  After the exchange of important financial information and documents, spouses usually attend mediation in an attempt to resolve their conflicts. At mediation, the parties and their counsel meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, who helps the parties communicate and reach a resolution of their disagreements. If the parties reach an agreement at mediation, the agreement is reduced to writing and signed by the parties. If the parties are unable to resolve their disagreements at mediation or through settlement negotiations, the disputed issues are scheduled for a trial before the court. The court will consider the evidence and determine the contested issues for the parties in a “Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage.”  

Most cases are resolved without a trial, either through mediation, settlement conferences, or the negotiation and execution of a Marital Settlement Agreement. The dissolution of marriage is granted and spouses are officially divorced after the court approves the agreement and signs the “Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.” Even though spouses may reach a resolution either at mediation or by the execution of a Marital Settlement Agreement, it will be necessary for the petitioner to attend a five-minute final hearing in court in order for the Judge to execute the “Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.”

Of course, there are many other details and circumstances that may pertain to your specific situation. Patricia will discuss these matters in detail with you during your consultation.  Patricia Sciarrino is experienced in handling all matters in a dissolution of marriage proceeding, including the division of assets and debts (equitable distribution), alimony/spousal support, parental responsibility, time-sharing, child support, etc. For more information and to schedule your confidential consultation, please contact the law office of Patricia Sciarrino, P.A. at (772) 463-8017.

Patricia Sciarrino represents clients in Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River & Okeechobee counties who reside in Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, Jensen Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Fort Pierce and Okeechobee in marital and family law matters, including the following areas:

The information provided on law and legal topics is designed for general informational purposes only and does not constitute nor should it be considered legal advice.


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