Dissolution of Marriage
Attorneys in Tallahassee, Florida

Going through a divorce can be a devastating and emotional process and, it is more prevalent in Florida than the national average, according to the Census Bureau.   

In Florida, a divorce is known as dissolution of marriage. To dissolve a marriage in Florida, either party can file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken.  The petition is generally filed in the county in which the parties last lived together as a married couple.  Divorces range in complexity from a simple proceeding lasting a few months to extremely complex matters that can last years.

If you need legal assistance from a Family lawyer in Florida with a wide range of experience, then contact Fournier Law. We work with clients in all types of divorce cases, involving both simple and complex asset division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Contact our law firm today to explore your legal options.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

There are generally two types of divorce in Florida: uncontested divorce and contested divorce. 

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the terms of the divorce. The terms may include how to divide the assets, care for the children, or alimony payments. In most cases, both parties settle before the case goes to court.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce happens when one or both parties disagree over specific matters relating to the separation. Both parties may seek legal representation and take their case to court. If so, they will appear before a family law judge.

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Legal Grounds for a Divorce in Florida

There are only two grounds for divorce in the state of Florida:

  1. The marriage is broken and cannot be fixed.
  2. Mental incapacity of a spouse.

If a person seeks dissolution of marriage, claiming that it is irretrievably broken, and children are involved, or the other party disputes the person’s claim, a judge may take the following actions:

  • Order that both spouses seek marriage counseling
  • Continue the proceedings for up to three months to allow the couple to reconcile their differences
  • Take any other action that is in the best interest of the couple or their children

Timeline for Dissolution of Marriage

The timeline for a dissolution of marriage can vary depending on each case and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. On average, a divorce timeline may look like this:

Time to Prepare a Case: 3 Weeks

A case can take three to four weeks to prepare. Much of the time is spent gathering documents, sharing information with the other spouse, and waiting for a response.

Service of Petition and Summons: 1 to 3 Weeks

Since the receiving spouse has to be present for the papers to be served, it can take a few days to locate the spouse and serve them the papers.

Answer Period: 20 Days

Once the spouse receives the papers, they have 20 days to file an answer. Keep in mind that the other spouse can hire an attorney and find ways to delay this process.

Mediation: 5 Months

Florida requires a mediation period in all divorce cases. This is a period to allow each of the spouses and their lawyers to work out a settlement. This period can take several months in contested cases.

Final Hearing: 4 to 6 Months

The final hearing can also take several months, depending on if the divorce is contested or uncontested. During the final hearing, a judge reviews the request and decides on the case.

Dividing Assets and Debts

Florida is an equitable distribution state. As such, the court has the power to divide both parties’ marital assets and debts.

During the proceeding, all property is designated as either marital (assets acquired during the marriage) or nonmarital (owned prior to the marriage or obtained through inheritance or gift). The court assigns a monetary value to both assets and debts and then decides on fair distribution. If applicable, the court will also determine whether alimony or other forms of support are appropriate.

Dissolution of Marriage Attorneys Serving Tallahassee, Florida

If you are considering filing a dissolution of marriage or have just been served with papers, we can guide you through the process with compassion and care.  Using our years of experience and expertise, we will help you fight for the best interest of your family. To get started with your claim, contact Fournier Law today. We offer a wide range of legal services for families in Tallahassee, Big Bend, and surrounding areas.