Simple Divorces in Florida; Why you may still need an Attorney.
Simple Divorces in Florida are quite common for those wanting to dissolve their marriage without using an attorney. This process allows parties to pursue a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. A simple divorce may be attractive as an attorney is not usually used in the court process to complete such a divorce. However, an attorney may be necessary for explaining property rights and to ensure that a party correctly understands the terms of a settlement. As such, it is usually a good idea to talk with and have an attorney advise you even when contemplating a simple divorce.
Who is eligible to file Simple Divorces in Florida?
Only some couples may file under the simplified procedure. Simple Divorces in Florida require the following:
- Both spouses agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
- Each agree to using the simplified dissolution of marriage form
- The parties have no minor (including adopted) or dependent children
- Neither spouse is pregnant
- At least one of the spouses has lived in Florida for the past six months
- The spouses have agreed upon the division of their assets and debts
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony
- The parties will both attend the final hearing of dissolution of the marriage
Each spouse must sign the simple divorce petition in the presence of a deputy clerk (in the clerk’s office), although you do not have to go into the clerk’s office at the same time. Each spouse will need to provide picture identification (valid driver’s license or official identification card) for the clerk to witness your signature.
There are additional (and key) differences between simple divorces in Florida and other divorce processes. Ordinarily when pursuing a dissolution of marriage (divorce), each spouse has the right to examine and cross-examine the other as a witness. Each spouse also has the ability to obtain documents concerning the other’s income, expenses, assets and debts before a trial or settlement. Under the simple dissolution procedure, a spouse may request financial information from the other spouse, but there is no right to the disclosure of the other spouse’s financial information.
Why Would I Want an Attorney if I am pursuing a Simple Divorce?
It is advisable to consult an attorney in any divorce as there could be lurking issues. Using the simplified procedure may seem like a cost-effective and quick solution to give you and your former spouse that “fresh-start.” However, while issues such as debt, division of assets, forgoing alimony and others may seem trivial, they could lead to complications in the future. Furthermore, if you and your spouse did not disclose financial assets or debts during the marriage, there may be obligations owed or assets to which you are entitled but for which you have no knowledge having not obtained proper financial disclosure. An experienced attorney can advise you of these pitfalls and explain the full impact of engaging in the simplified dissolution procedure.
Contact Attorney Natalie D. Hall
A simple divorce may be right for you. On the other hand, there may be unforeseen issues that require review by an attorney. Attorney Natalie D. Hall has extensive experience in family law matters and ensuring fair representation. Having an experienced attorney guide you through the process is essential. Contact us today for a consultation regarding your situation.