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Uncontested Divorce – Dissolution of Marriage
When both parties desire to be divorced and agree on a number of factors—such as the distribution of marital assets and liabilities, alimony, and any timesharing (child custody), and child support issues—they may choose to file for an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorces are a good option for parties living in Florida who are able to reach an agreement on all issues, as they are faster and less costly than contested divorces.
As with contested divorce cases, parties seeking an uncontested divorce must satisfy Florida’s residency requirement and file for divorce in the circuit court. To satisfy the residency requirement, at least one of the parties must have lived in Florida for at least six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. The party who files the petition for dissolution of marriage is the “petitioner” and the other party, who is required to answer the petition, is the “respondent.” Both parties are still required to file a financial affidavit within forty-five days of service of the petition. The financial affidavit is a written declaration of a party’s finances, debts, and property that is signed under oath. The financial affidavit must be filed even if a party does not have any property.
To be an uncontested divorce, the parties must agree to settle all issues related to the distribution of marital property and marital debts, alimony, any child custody, timesharing, and child support issues, and any other issues relating to any minor children of the marriage. The parties’ agreement on these issues is memorialized in a “marital settlement agreement,” which is signed by both parties. If there are minor children of the marriage, the parties will also need to reach an agreed parenting plan. The parenting plan is a document that will govern the parents’ relationship as it relates to the minor child(ren), which will encompass custody, parental responsibility, and visitation. Once the financial affidavits, the marital settlement agreement, and the parenting plan (if applicable) are signed and submitted to the court, the case will then proceed to a final divorce hearing. After the hearing, the court will issue a final judgment which incorporates the parties’ marital settlement agreement and parenting plan, if any.
Because the parties agree on all of the major issues in an uncontested divorce, these cases typically proceed quickly to the final hearing. Clients are generally happy with the results and more relaxed during the process due to the level of control that they have over the outcome of their case. Because the parties are able to reach a mutual agreement, uncontested cases generally resolve without the risk of future litigation that is more likely to result from contested cases.
It is important that parties meet certain requirements before filing for an uncontested divorce in Florida. Ms. Loftus is experienced in these types of cases, and, should you decide that an uncontested divorce is an option for you, the attorneys at Loftus Law are ready to discuss the matter with you and prepare the necessary documents for your case.
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