How Do You Get a Quick Divorce in Florida?
Making the decision to end a marriage with divorce is one of the hardest choices a person will make in his/her lifetime. For many, the worry is others will see their divorce as an indication they made the wrong choice or did not work hard enough to keep the marriage together. Obviously, no relationship is that simple, and few couples jump to divorce without considerable efforts to stay together. Once the decision is made, though, most people want to know how quickly the process will take, knowing that until they see the court order dissolving the marriage, it will be difficult to move on. Generally, Florida law requires that at least 20 days pass between the time the divorce petition is filed and when the court enters an order dissolving the marriage. Further, when a couple files for divorce, Florida courts accept several types of divorce petitions that are differentiated by particulars of the couple’s situation, i.e., shared property, dependent children, etc. The type of petition submitted and the ability of the parties to work together will, in large part, control how long it takes to complete the divorce process. An overview of the different type of divorce petitions a person can file, and some factors that extend the timeline of a divorce case, will be discussed below.
If a couple qualifies to file for a simplified divorce, the time period they will have to wait will be relatively short. In fact, the only thing a couple in this situation would need is the judge’s signature approving the dissolution. Simplified divorces are uncontested and require the parties to agree on all the terms of a property division and debt allocation, such as who gets to keep the house and who takes on the credit card debt, which is presented to the judge for approval and is included as part of the final court order. In addition, the couple cannot share any minor children and neither party can ask for alimony. The parties in a simplified divorce must attend the final hearing, but do not have the benefit of a full trial or the right to appeal the court order. Because the parties are not litigating any issues, the process is much faster and less expensive. Further, while a judge or jury will not make the final decision on property division, one or both parties can utilize the services of a divorce attorney to make sure their rights and interests are protected.
Standard Divorce Petition
If you do not fit within the criteria described above, which would include most people, you must file a standard petition for dissolution of marriage. Typically, the parties involved in this type of petition disagree on some aspect of the divorce, like child custody or property division, and want a judge to decide the issue for them. This type of petition is also required if either spouse wants:
- more information about a spouse’s income, expenses, assets, or other matters prior to a trial or settlement; or
- to reserve the right to appeal.
One issue that will lengthen any divorce case is disagreement about children. In fact, any divorce case that involves children will automatically be extended so the court can address the best interests of the child and/or give the parties an opportunity for reconciliation. On average, getting a divorce in Florida takes about six months. A degree of patience and a willingness to work with the other party will go a long way to making sure it does not require additional time.
Talk to a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is a painful process that can easily become overwhelming if you do not know how the court system works. An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through a divorce case, allowing you to focus on your family and the process of starting over. The Tampa law firm of Bubley & Bubley, P.A. will find a solution that is best for you and your family. Contact us to schedule a consultation.