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Divorcing couples in Florida can pursue either a contested or uncontested divorce.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorces are those in which both spouses agree on the decisions needed to end the marriage.

Divorce agreements in uncontested divorces typically address the distribution of property and debt, parenting arrangements, alimony, and any other issues that affect a specific family. Many uncontested divorces are complete in as little as six to eight weeks.

Though no trial is required for an uncontested divorce, at least one spouse, accompanied by a divorce attorney, must attend a short hearing. During the hearing, the spouse in attendance shows he or she has lived in Florida for at least six months and that his or her marriage is not reconcilable.  

Uncontested divorce takes less time and costs less money than contested divorce. The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller can handle your uncontested divorce for as low as $599 plus costs. Contact us today at 813-254-5696 or use the online contact form for more information.

Contested Divorce

Contested divorce occurs when spouses do not agree on the issues related to the end of their marriage. The process begins when either spouse files a petition in the Florida circuit court located in the county where the couple last lived as husband and wife, or in whatever county the filing spouse resides. The divorce petition addresses what the filing spouse wants the court to provide in the divorce.

The non-filing spouse must respond to the petition with an answer within 20 days of being served with the petition. The answer addresses the issues in the petition, and for some, might include a counter-petition that raises any additional issues.

Following the petition and answer, each party must exchange certain financial documents and a completed financial affidavit within 45 days of the service of the petition or several days prior to any scheduled temporary hearings. The financial affidavit is mandatory in all cases in which relief is sought, and failing to submit the document can result in the court’s dismissal of the case, or the court can choose not to consider that party’s requests.

Spouses who are parents must also complete and file with the court a child support guidelines worksheet at or before any hearing on child support.

When Spouses Agree on Some Post Divorce Arrangements…

It is possible for spouses to agree on some issues in a contested divorce. For instance, they might see eye to eye on parental responsibility or division of property. When this is the case they both sign a written agreement that is presented to the court. Following a hearing, the court approves their agreement to make it official.

Often, couples work out their initial differences through a process called mediation. Mediation helps divorcing couples avoid the expense and frustration of a trial, and allows them to stay in control of the decisions that need to be made in their divorce.

Mediation is not intended to save a marriage – it is to help divorcing couples reach agreement on their terms without interference from the court. The process requires compromise on the part of both spouses and makes it possible for both to walk away from their marriage satisfied with the arrangement. Many counties in Florida offer public or court-connected mediation services and some counties require divorcing couples to attempt mediation before scheduling a court date in an effort to avoid a trial.

When Spouses Do Not Agree on Post Divorce Arrangements…

There are some cases when couples do not see eye to eye on much of anything regarding their divorce. In this case, a trial is required and a judge makes the final decision on contested issues. In these cases, one spouse is typically happier with the arrangement than the other.

One of the most important things you can do, regardless of how your divorce is ultimately settled, is contact an experienced divorce attorney. He or she will help you complete the divorce process in the most efficient manner possible and ensure your rights are protected every step of the way.

To learn more or to speak with a divorce attorney in Florida, contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller by phone at 813-254-5696 or online by using our online contact form.

Call (813) 254-5696 anytime, or use this contact form, for your free initial consultation.
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