Simplified Divorces by Experienced Family Lawyers
Top Law Firms in Brevard County, Florida
Provided by: Bonnie Klein Rhoden, Esquire
In Florida the quickest, least expensive way to get divorced is through a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is a type of Uncontested Divorce. Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.105 sets out the special requirements to use this procedure. First, the parties cannot have any minor or dependent children and the wife must not be pregnant. Second, the parties must agree on the division of all of their assets and debts. These requirements hold true in Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville, Indialantic, West Melbourne, Cocoa Beach and all areas of Brevard County, Florida.
If you can use the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage procedure you do not have to disclose, by filing in the public record, the terms of your marital settlement agreement or even file a financial affidavit. Rule 12.105(c), adopted in 1995 does state that a financial affidavit and a marital settlement agreement must each be filed. However, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure form 12.901(a), adopted in 2015, specifically says you do not have to file a marital settlement agreement. Also, nowhere in the form is there a requirement that a financial affidavit be filed. Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285(c) provides that a financial affidavit is not required but does require a written marital settlement agreement. In practice most Judges will not require either document. If you want to keep your personal and financial affairs private, you must use the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage procedure.
In a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage both the Husband and Wife must appear before the Judge. Typically, the Brevard County Circuit Court Judge will require both the Husband and the Wife to testify. The court will want to make sure that the facts as sworn to in the Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage are true and correct. Also, the Court will make sure that each person understands what they are doing and that no one is being pressured into agreeing to the terms of the divorce.
One thing the Judge will not do is make sure that any agreement is fair. Your marital settlement agreement may be in writing or simply a handshake agreement. Whatever agreement is reached it is not the Court’s job to ensure that the agreement is fair. Unfair agreements are enforceable and you cannot ask to have an unfair agreement set aside merely because it is unfair or even harsh. This is one reason you should speak with an experienced family law attorney even if you are using a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Our uncontested divorce and simplified dissolution of marriage attorneys are available to meet with you in Melbourne, Viera, or Rockledge Call for a free consultation by phone or in person.
Using a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is the fastest way to get divorced in Florida but there are two requirements that may delay your divorce.
First, Florida Statute 61.021 provides that one of the parties to a Dissolution of Marriage must be a resident of the State of Florida for at least six months before they can file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This requirement covers any type of divorce in Florida not just a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This requirement is jurisdictional and cannot be waived by the Court; the Residency Requirements apply to all divorces in Brevard County and all of Florida.
Second, Florida Statute 61.19 provides that a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage may not be entered until twenty (20) days have passed since the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed. Your Petition for a divorce may be filed in the Viera, Melbourne or Titusville courthouses. The legislature enacted this requirement to prevent people from acting on impulse and allow time for reflection and reconsideration before taking the serious step of getting divorced.
As set forth in Florida Statute 61.19 the Court can waive the twenty (20) day requirement “on a showing that injustice would result from this delay”. Reasons to waive the twenty (20) day requirement can be financial or personal.
Reasons for the twenty (20) day waiting period can include a party needing to be single to get a mortgage or other type of loan including financial aid for school. Personal reasons could include one party being unavailable due to military service, a prison sentence, or even serious illness or imminent death. A wife may be pregnant with, what all parties acknowledge, is another man’s child and the parents want to marry before the birth of the child. These are extraordinary circumstances and a Court would need to hear substantial evidence to be persuaded to waive the twenty (20) day requirement.
You should consult a divorce attorney or family law lawyer when considering a divorce including a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Florida and Brevard County. Once done, a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage can be difficult or impossible to challenge. Due to a lack of documents the terms of a simplified divorce can be unclear and unenforceable. This could have a substantial impact on your future. Call Rhoden Law Group’s divorce attorneys, for a free consultation at (321) 549-3162, we also have attorneys available 24/7 for your urgent matters.