How to file a divorce in Florida

Divorce is a stress full and disappointing event in someone’s life. This issue becomes more challenging and complicated if there is the involvement of children. Requirements for the divorce can be confusing as there can be many questions like what will happen to children. What about property division. How should I start the proceeding, should I sign the paper or hire the services of a divorce attorney of my town?

In Florida, the no-fault divorce process is used by the courts. In this type of divorce process, it is not necessary to prove any type of fault. You have to show that marriage has reached the point of no return or the spouse is not mentally fit for the last three years.  Adultery and cruel treatments can be considered as a fault by the courts while decision-making on some family issues like property division, child custody, and alimony in some cases.

There are 2 different procedures to file a petition for divorce in Florida. These are given below

  • Simplified petition or uncontested divorce
  • Traditional petition or contested divorce

7 Steps To File Divorce In Florida

  1. Preparation of the petition for dissolution of marriage

  • Uncontested divorce

This is an easy and simple type of divorce that includes an agreement between the spouses for the amicable end of marriage if both partners agree on the uncontested divorce. Following are some points to remember.

  1. You don’t have your own or adopted children below 18 years of age
  2. Your spouse is not pregnant
  3. Both partners are not looking for alimony
  4. Agreement about the division of all
  5. You or your partner have lived in Florida for the last six months
  6. Both spouses agree the marriage is irretrievably broken

All issues like child custody and marital property division should be settled on the marital settlement agreement.

  • Contested divorce

This type of divorce is practiced when both parties don’t agree on the division of marital property/debt and child custody. Usually, the attorneys of both parties have negotiations for a divorce settlement that can lead to an amicable end without trial proceeding. Once the settlement is reached then both spouses make an agreement that will become legally binding.

In a regular divorce proceeding, both spouses can get documents like income, expense/debts, and assets of one another before settlement or trial through a process called discovery. Following are some forms that are needed for the filing of a contested divorce.

  1. Petition for divorce with dependent or minor children
  2. Petition for divorce with Property without dependent or minor
  3. Petition for divorce without dependent or minor children or property


  1. Summons for the Florida court clerk

The summons that your attorney has prepared is a document that is signed by the clerk and gives the process server the ability to service your partner who is called the defendant. This service allows your spouse to obtain a copy of the required papers. This service can be of three types that are given below.

  1. Personal service
  2. Service by mail, email, or hand delivery
  3. Constructive service
  1. SS Affidavit, Non-Military, Military Affidavit & UCCJEA Affidavits preparations

Following affidavits are required for the filing of a divorce in Florida.

  1. Social security affidavit – This law refers to the disclosure of social security numbers.
  2. Non-military / military affidavit – This affidavit refers that the respondent is a military person or not.
  3. Uniform child custody jurisdiction and enforcement Act (UCCJEA) affidavit – This affidavit refers to cases that involve the custody, time-sharing, and visitation of the minor(s)
  1. The Florida Financial Affidavit & Supporting Documentation

Both the parties have to complete the financial affidavit within 45 days of the petition being served. This affidavit includes all the assets and liabilities. This affidavit is necessary even if you and your spouse don’t have assets. This affidavit includes the following points.

  1. Income Statement & tax returns
  2. List of real estate holdings
  3. List of debts/Credit card statements/Bank statements
  4. Personal financial statements
  5. Any other relevant financial documents

Make a list of family possessions and household expenses that can enable you to determine how much temporary support can be paid. This can help the court to determine whether you or your spouse can afford your marital home.

  1. Getting a Settlement agreement in place; typical contested items

Marital Asset law in Florida

According to this law, any debt or asset, or liabilities acquired during the marriage will be equally divided. The assets acquired before marriage are considered non-marital assets.

Spousal support law in Florida

Following are key factors that determine the alimony in Florida’s divorce law.

  1. The marital duration and standard of living
  2. The age and physical condition of each spouse
  3. Any emotional impairments that block one’s earning ability
  4. Whether there is a need for career training or education to find a job for any spouse
  5. Contribution of each spouse made to the marriage

Child custody law

This important issue is decided by the court by keeping in view the best interest of the child if both parties fail to decide amicably.

Child support Law

The Florida court decides about child support according to guidelines provided by the Florida Divorce law. The court if orders child support then it will continue up to the age of 18 years of the child.

  1. Filling of divorce form

After filling all forms and other supporting documents, file the petition in the court where you live. Give the copy of the filed petition to your spouse.

  1. Hearing in front of a judge and prepare a final judgment

The hearing starts when you and your spouse appear in court. Your judge will make a ruling if both parties agree on everything. Otherwise, the court will give a schedule and explain family court proceedings.

If both spouses don’t agree on a divorce settlement then the judge will decide about the child custody and property division based on the evidence presented in court.

In the case of uncontested divorce, the judge can incorporate your settlement agreement into the final decree by consent orders.