An Overview on Initiating the Divorce Process in Florida

If you’re in the process of divorcing in the state of Florida, you’re going to want to understand the proper procedure. First, you’ll want to ensure that you are filing the correct forms for your divorce in the correct court. Always file in the county that you reside in, and you must have been a resident of that county for at least six months.

Forms to File

The first form you’ll complete when filing for divorce is referred to as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petitioner is the spouse who initially files for divorce, and the respondent is the spouse who files for divorce.

In Flordia there is no such thing as fault-based divorce, so you only need to show that the marriage is beyond repair or that the other spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years. The court may still consider fault, such as cruel treatment or infidelity, when it decides things such as child custody, support, and property division.

If you and your spouse agree on property division, neither spouse is requesting alimony and you have no minor children, you may be able to file a simplified divorce.

Filing The Forms with The Court

Filing for divorce means that you’ve given your petition to the court where you are filing. The court will provide you with a copy of your petition with a date stamp and proof the form was filed with the court. You should keep a copy of the petition for yourself, and one to serve on your spouse.

You will have to serve your spouse with a copy of the filed petition, and if your spouse agrees, he or his attorney can accept service. Your spouse will need to complete a form at the court’s office.

You can also have the sheriff’s office serve the petition on the spouse, or you can hire a private process server to serve your petition. Each court will have a list of approved process servers.

If you are unable to locate your spouse, you can serve him by something called constructive services, means you will publish a notice in the paper for 30 days of your intent to divorce your spouse.

Financial Disclosure Requirements

The state of Florida requires you to complete a financial disclosure and provide a copy to your spouse within 45 days of the date of the petition for dissolution of the marriage. You can obtain a blank form from the court’s office. The information you must turn over include the following:

  • Assets
  • Income
  • Debts
  • Bank Statements
  • Credit Card Statements
  • Tax Returns
  • Personal Financial Statements

Refer to your attorney for more information regarding divorce in Florida.