Dissolution of Marriage Florida Divorce Laws
The regular dissolution process begins with a petition for dissolution of marriage, filed with the circuit court by the husband or wife, which states that the marriage is irretrievably broken and sets out what the person wants from the court. The other partner must file an Answer within 20 days maximum, which includes the matters within the initial petition on which the parties agree or disagree as well as any issues the answering party wishes to raise in their counter-petition.
Court rules governing divorces require that each party provide certain financial documents and a completed financial affidavit to the other party within 45 days of the service of the petition or before any temporary relief hearing. The extent of the information to be provided depends on the annual income and expenses of each party. Failure to provide this information can result in the court dismissing the case or not considering that party's requests. The parties or the court can modify these requirements except for the filing of a financial affidavit, which is mandatory in all cases.
Mediation is a procedure to assist in arriving at agreeable terms in the dissolution.
Some couples agree on how they want to distribute their assets and debts and enter into a marital settlement agreement. All issues can be included in the settlement (parenting plan), including, child custody (Time Sharing), and other post-divorce arrangements before or soon after the original petition is filed. This written agreement (parenting plan) is signed by both parties and then presented to the court. In most instances in these type cases, a divorce can become final in a matter of a few weeks.
Other couples disagree on some issues, work out their differences, and appear for a final hearing with a suggested settlement which may be accepted by the judge.
Mediation is a procedure to assist you and your spouse in working out an arrangement for reaching agreement without a protracted process or a trial. Its purpose is not to save a marriage, but to help divorcing couples reach a solution to their problems and arrive at agreeable terms for handling their dissolution. Everything said in mediation is confidential. Mediation can save both parties a lot of stress and money. Many counties have mediation services available; some are mandatory.
Finally, some couples cannot agree on much of anything and a trial - with each side presenting its case - is required. The judge makes the final decision on contested issues. Who is better able to decide what is best for you and your family?
The equitable dissolution process is designed to make the divorce as fair as possible to both husband and wife, which usually means negotiation - and compromise - by both partners.
Attorneys have learned it is unrealistic to expect both partners to be "happy" with their divorce.
The experience can be very stressful and emotionally devastating. After divorce, and sometimes during the process of getting a divorce the financial upheaval of supporting two households instead of one causes hardship for the entire family. The parties, however, if they are willing to work together, can take steps to make the process easier for themselves and their children.