Simplified Divorce: (863) 534-4488
What is a simplified divorce?
Simplified Divorce is a simple, means of ending a marriage for those couples who meet the eligibility requirements.
What are the requirements for a simplified divorce?
You may file a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Florida if all of the following are true:
- You and your spouse agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
- You and your spouse have no minor or dependent child(ren) together and the wife is not now pregnant.
- You and your spouse have worked out how the two of you will divide the things that you both own (your assets) and who will pay what part of the money you both owe (your liabilities), and you are both satisfied with this division.
- You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.
- Neither you nor your spouse wish to have any financial information other than that provided in the financial affidavits.
- You are willing to give up your right to trial and appeal.
- You and your spouse are both willing to go into the clerk's office or to a Notary Public to sign the petition (not necessarily together).
- You and your spouse are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time).
If you do not meet the criteria above, you must file a regular petition for dissolution of marriage.
Where can we file for a simplified divorce?
A Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage may be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court's Office in the Polk County Courthouse, Family Law Department, the Lakeland Branch Courthouse or the Northeast Government Center.
Forms for filing a petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage can be purchased in the clerk's office, or can be downloaded on your home computer from the web site www.flcourts.org/gen_public/family/forms_rules/index.shtml#petsup.
What do we need to bring with us?
You and your spouse must each visit a Notary Public or come to the Clerk's Office to sign the paperwork. You will need to bring a form of identification that includes your picture (such as a driver's license). Residency must be proven to the court that the husband and/or wife has (have) lived in Florida for more than 6 months before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Residence can be proven by:
- a valid Florida driver's license, Florida identification card, or voter registration card issued to one of you at least 6 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage;
- the testimony of another person who knows either you or your spouse has resided in Florida for more than 6 months and is available to testify in court;
- an affidavit. To prove residence by affidavit, use an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law form 12.902(I). The Affidavit must be notarized or signed in the presence of a notary clerk.
Picture Identification (valid driver's license or official identification card ) must be used for the clerk to witness a signature.
In addition to the petition, you must file the forms listed below with the Clerk:
- Financial Affidavit
- Notice of Social Security Number (each of you must complete a separate notice)
- Marital Settlement Agreement (you will complete one agreement together)
Do we have to have an attorney?
An attorney is not required with the Simplified Dissolution procedure. If you or your spouse have any doubt in your mind regarding legal questions, you should consult with an attorney prior to filing for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.
What does it cost to file for a simplified divorce?
The filing fees for a simplified divorce are set by Florida Statute and are subject to change as a result of new laws passed by the legislature each year. Refer to the "Schedule of Service Charges" available online and as a brochure available in any of the Clerk's Offices.
How long will it take for our divorce to become final?
A hearing to finalize your divorce will be scheduled at the earliest possible date dependent upon the court's schedule. There is a mandatory 20 day waiting period before a hearing can be held. You and your spouse must both appear before the court on the scheduled hearing date.
What happens after the Judge signs the Final Judgment?
The case is final and Circuit Civil prepares a form for the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Can we change our mind after we have filed for a simplified dissolution of marriage?
If, after filing for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you believe your marriage can be saved and the divorce avoided, both parties fail to show for the court hearing, the case is automatically dismissed.
Do we have to file for a divorce in the county where we reside?
No. If either you or your spouse has met the residence requirement of residing in the State of Florida for at least the past six months, you may file in any county within the state. If there is any doubt in your mind or your spouse's concerning a legal question about either your right to divorce or any property rights or tax consequences, it is strongly recommended that the services of an attorney be obtained. If you do not know an attorney, you should contact the Lawyer Referral Service listed in the Yellow Pages of the telephone book. If you are financially unable to afford the service of an attorney, you should contact the Legal Aid Office in your area or ask you local bar association for a referral to an appropriate person or agency.