In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to get an uncontested divorce in Florida, step-by-step.
Contrary to popular belief, divorce does not need to be a complicated, contentious process.
An uncontested divorce is the quickest, cheapest way to move on to the next chapter. But it does require cooperation. You and your spouse need to work together to resolve the terms of your divorce settlement.
One of the biggest hurdles to doing so is fear and mistrust – often fueled by misinformation.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to stay out of court and have an amicable divorce.
- What is an Uncontested Divorce?
- Steps to an Uncontested Divorce in Florida
- How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?
- How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
- Do I Have to go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce?
- Answers to Common Questions about Uncontested Divorce in Florida
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse agree on all issues such as division of assets and debts, alimony, child support, and child custody. By agreeing on all issues, there is nothing for the court to decide. One of the major benefits of an uncontested divorce is that you and your spouse are in complete control of the outcome.
An uncontested divorce is the quickest, easiest path to dissolving a marriage in Florida. It can save time, money and anxiety, allowing each person to more peacefully move on with the next part of their lives.
Florida courts allow two types of uncontested divorces in Florida. A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage can be an option for some couples, as long as they meet all of the following conditions:
- both spouses must agree to using this method of divorce
- both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- there are no minor children under 18, no dependent children, and the spouses have no adopted children under the age of 18
- the wife is not pregnant
- at least one of the spouses has lived in Florida for the past six months
- the spouses have agreed on how to divide all of their assets and debts
- neither spouse is seeking alimony
If you don’t meet all of these conditions, you can still file for a Regular Dissolution of Marriage. This is a bit more time consuming but is still a fast and efficient way to end a marriage, especially compared to a contested divorce.
Steps to an Uncontested Divorce in Florida
To file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must be in agreement on the terms of the divorce. If this is the case, then one spouse will complete a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Additional forms may be required, depending on your unique circumstances, such as awarding child support, establishing child custody, developing a parenting plan, alimony, and other circumstances.
After one spouse completes the petition, it must be filed with the circuit court clerk either where you and your spouse last lived together or where one of you currently resides. You will need to pay a filing fee when you do so.
After filing, the paperwork must be served on your spouse, along with a summons, to make them officially aware of your intent to divorce them. This is generally done through a private process server or through a local sheriff’s office for a small fee.
The spouse must be personally served. If an attempt is made but they are not home or at work, then the summons and petition can be left at the spouse’s address with any resident who is at least 15 years old.
A spouse has 20 days to respond to the petition after it is served. If there is no response, then the court can enter a default judgment and grant the divorce without the spouse’s participation.
When a spouse responds, a short final hearing will be set. A judge will review the case, look at the terms of a marital settlement agreement, make sure that legal residency requirements have been met, and then if the judge determines everything is in order, a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage will be issued.
Read More: How to File for Divorce in Florida
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida?
It generally takes about 4-6 weeks to finalize uncontested divorces in Florida. Part of this process has to do with a mandatory 20-day waiting period, court backlogs, final hearing scheduling issues, and other administrative processes.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Florida?
In the state of Florida, the filing fee for an uncontested divorce is $408 plus a $10 summons fee.
You will also need to pay a small fee to have a process server or sheriff’s deputy serve papers on your spouse, but this should be less than $100.
If you can’t afford to pay the fees, you can request a waiver. To do so, when you file, complete an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. You may get this form from the clerk and he or she will determine whether you are eligible to have filing fees waived.
By contrast, divorce attorneys can charge anywhere from $150 to $500 for consultations and other related services in a contested divorce.
Do I have to go to Court for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?
Although you don’t have a trial in an uncontested divorce, as part of the settlement agreement process, you’ll still need to appear in front of a judge for a brief divorce hearing. During the court appearance, the judge will review the terms of the divorce and may ask a few questions before approving the Final Decree.
It helps the process considerably if you already have drafted a written marital settlement agreement with your spouse.
Also, if children are involved, parents are required to complete a Department of Children and Families approved parenting course.
After the judge signs the Final Decree, you will take it to the circuit clerk to file it. Each party should get a certified copy to keep for their permanent records.
Read More: How to Prepare for a Divorce Hearing
Answers to Common Questions about Uncontested Divorce in Florida
What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
Florida is a “no-fault” state. This means that the person filing for divorce does not need to prove any specific reason for the divorce, only that they want to end the marriage. There are two acceptable no-fault reasons. They are:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning the relationship is so damaged that the marriage can’t be saved.
- A spouse is mentally incapacitated. According to Florida Statutes – Title VI §61.052 (1), to qualify for this ground, the spouse must have been declared legally incapacitated for at least three years prior to the filing for divorce with the court.
What divorce forms will I need to complete?
At a minimum, you’ll need to complete a Petition and a Summons to submit to the court. However, most people need to complete additional forms based on their unique circumstances.
The Florida State Courts provide all of the forms online, and you can find them here.
Can I file for an uncontested divorce in Florida without a lawyer?
Absolutely. Many people save time and money by reaching a settlement agreement on their own.
But if you run into problems or questions, the smart thing to do is retain the services of a divorce attorney who can protect your interests, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like child custody, a division of property, or alimony.
Can I file for divorce using an online service in Florida?
Absolutely. In fact, this can be a great way to save time and money.
Navigating the legal process… deciphering what forms to complete and how… it’s enough to make your head spin. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you complete all the required forms online in under an hour.
While there are dozens of online divorce companies, most fail to deliver on their promises. You can read our full review of the best online divorce companies here. Our #1 recommendation is 3 Step Divorce. Here’s why:
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Can I get divorced in Florida if I was married in another state?
As long as you meet residency requirements for Florida, you can get a divorce in the state even if you were married somewhere else.
Florida divorce law requires that one or both spouses must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. You must prove this residency before a court can legally hear your case.
What if I reconcile with my spouse?
If your divorce has not been finalized, you can request a dismissal of your case with the court. If your divorce has been finalized, it cannot be reversed. If you want to remain married to your spouse, you will need to get married again.
If one spouse does not want to divorce, but the other one does, the divorce can still move forward. It is no longer an uncontested divorce though. If a spouse completely ignores the process, the other spouse can seek a court-ordered default judgment.
In the end, if one spouse no longer wants to be married, they are not required to stay married.
How is property divided in a Florida divorce?
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital property is divided fairly among two divorcing spouses but this does necessarily mean a 50/50 split.
The court may look at how spouses have decided to split property to ensure one spouse is not taking advantage of the other, based on several circumstances that may be considered.
Read More: Who Gets the House in a Divorce?
Do I have to disclose my finances in an uncontested divorce?
Yes. In every divorce, both spouses must disclose their assets and debts, and income and expenses have by completing financial affidavits. According to Family Law Rules and Procedures, this applies even in an uncontested divorce.
Both spouses must submit a signed financial affidavit under the penalty of perjury. If a spouse lies, he or she could be held liable for criminal or civil penalties.