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Differences between two forms of divorce in Florida

As a no-fault divorce state, Florida residents do not need to prove fault to obtain a divorce. Those wishing to seek a divorce need only file a Petition of Dissolution and state that the marriage is beyond repair. 

A person seeking a divorce can approach a divorce case as either uncontested or contested, and either as a Regular or a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. 

Regular dissolution of marriage

According to the Florida Bar, in a regular dissolution of marriage procedure each spouse has the right to cross-examine the other spouse in the courtroom. There is also the possibility of obtaining a number of the spouse’s financial documents. The process begins with a petition filed with the court in the proper jurisdiction. Either spouse can start the process. 

The spouse filing the petition states what he or she wants from the court. The other spouse must respond within 20 days of notification. Spouses can work out many issues ahead of time, but those that remain unsettled require a hearing. The judge makes the final decision on the divorce settlement after reviewing the arguments and evidence from each side. 

Simplified dissolution of marriage

The Florida Courts website contains The Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Form. The conditions necessary to use this form include the following items: 

  • Both spouses agree the marriage is over 
  • Neither spouse has children 
  • Both spouses agree on the allocation of assets and liabilities 
  • Both partners agree to give up a trial and the possibility of appeal 

Additional requirements include proving to the court that the petitioners resided in Florida for at least six months. Petitioners must also pay filing fees and appear in court before a judge. If all the papers are in order, the judge will sign the final agreement granting the dissolution of marriage.