Below is an explanation of divorce options in Florida.  In reading this explanation, you will realize the benefits of using a mediator as opposed to an expensive attorney. Southwest Florida Divorce and Family Mediation Services mediates throughout Florida and can assist you in your divorce.  You can contact us at (239) 631-6755 or michael@guidingpathmediation.com.

There are two types of divorces options under Florida law. They include the simplified dissolution of marriage or the regular dissolution of marriage.  Regular dissolutions of marriage can be either uncontested or connected.   Below is a summary of the two divorce options.

The Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.  As indicated by its name, the simplified dissolution is the easiest option.  The divorcing spouses do not need to hire attorneys to represent them.  However, the simplified dissolution can only be used under certain circumstances.  First, the spouses cannot have any minor children (i.e., children under the age of 18 years) and the wife cannot be pregnant.  Second, each spouse must complete the Financial Affidavit court form and the Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage court form.  These forms are available online at www.flcourts.org.  It is worth a trip to the courthouse to speak to the clerk of the court, as there will be other minor filing requirements.  Clerks are generally able to answer general questions regarding other filing requirements.  Last, both spouses are required to attend the divorce hearing.

The Uncontested Regular Dissolution of Marriage.  A regular dissolution of marriage can be uncontested or contested.  In uncontested divorce cases, the spouses are not in dispute and agree on shared parenting, equitable distribution of assets and liability, alimony and child support.  The spouses must enter into a marital settlement agreement and each must complete a financial affidavit.  Also, both spouses are required to attend the final divorce hearing.  There will be other ancillary documents that need to be completed and filed.  Typically, an uncontested divorce will require that each spouse retain an attorney who will charge hourly at fairly significant rates.  Alternatively, the couple can hire a family mediator at about half the attorney’s hourly rate to (i) develop a mutually acceptable settlement agreement and parenting agreement; (ii) calculate child support payments; and (iii) assist in completing all the necessary court documents, including the financial affidavit.

The Contested Regular Dissolution of Marriage.   In contested divorce cases, the spouses are not in agreement with various aspects of the divorce.  If your divorce is contested, each spouse would generally hire an attorney to provide legal advice and prepare for litigation if a settlement cannot be reached.  The cost of a contested divorce will be considerably greater than an uncontested divorce.  However, a family mediator can assist the disputing couple at considerably lower costs.  As in the uncontested divorce, both spouses are required to attend the final divorce hearing and complete the necessary court forms.