Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

How to get a divorce in Florida

The process of how to get a divorce in Florida is referred as dissolution of marriage. It highlights all the issues that the couple has to solve during their divorce. The goal of a legal procedure of divorce is to end the marriage and decide issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony (also called as spousal support), property and debt division and attorney’s fees and costs.

A judgment which divorces a married couple can be given based upon an agreement between the parties or an order by a judge after a trial. While it can be emotionally stressful, parties who enter into an agreement generally accept the outcome, and the process is less expensive than a trial. Even where a couple is not likely to settle their case, most often the court requires the parties to attend mediation.

Filing the Petition

Dissolution of marriage begins with the petition. This document notifies the court and the respondent spouse that the petitioner spouse wants the court to end their marriage. It also sets forth that the petitioner is asking for child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, property division, possession of the marital residence, attorney’s fees and costs. Service of the petition on the respondent is often done by the sheriff’s office.

After the petition is served, the other spouse should file his/her response. In Florida, if a spouse is served with a petition, he/she must file the opposing papers within 20 days of service or else that spouse may lose the right to present his/her side to the court. Also the petitioner spouse may get everything from the court that he/she had asked for.

Temporary Orders

These orders set the rules while the case is pending. When the question arises on how to get a divorce in Florida, either party can ask the court to make temporary orders stating, for e.g. who stays in the house, who is accountable for the children, who pays which bills and to restrain inappropriate conduct. In some counties in Florida, provisional (temporary) orders automatically go into effect when a divorce is filed.


Each spouse is entitled to obtain information from the other party about the case. The legal process for obtaining that information is called discovery. Discovery might be simple, speedy or could consume a great amount of time, energy and money. In Florida, parties are required to complete and file economic affidavits. In addition, there are various other discovery procedures, sometimes referred to as discover devices.


If both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the case proceeds for trial. During the trial, all the details of the case are presented before a judge through testimony, testimony of other witnesses, and documents called exhibits. Trial is likely to be expensive; however it can be the only alternative to never ending unreasonable demands. Still, trials are risky as no lawyer can predict the outcome of it because every case is different.

Sometimes, a trial does not end the case. Each party may, within a restricted period of time, appeal to a higher court. An appeal adds more expense and time to the divorce process and is hard to win.

The process of how to get a divorce in Florida is not simple as it seems to be, but all rules and regulations need to be followed for smooth proceeding of the process.

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