Florida is one of the easiest states to get married in and one of the easiest to get divorced in. If you and your spouse agree to call it quits, and you agree about how to divide your belongings and your debts--and there are no minor or dependent children--the divorce process in Florida can be inexpensive and painless. You must both have valid identification and be willing to go to a short court hearing together.
Make sure you are eligible. To get an easy Florida no-fault divorce, you must have resided in the state for at least 6 months and you must file in the county where you live or where you both last lived together. \"No fault\" means you don't have to blame each other for the breakup, just agree that you are irreconcilable. If you have dependent children, if one partner is seeking alimony, or if you don't agree on how to split your belongings and your debts, the process is more complicated and is not covered in these instructions.
Get the forms. You can download all the forms you will need for a no-fault Florida divorce from the internet, and they also are available at any circuit court office. You'll need five different forms, seven copies in all: 1) One Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Instructions, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedures Form 12.901(a) GO 2) Two Financial Affidavits, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(b) or (c)--one copy for each spouse GO 3) Two Social Security Notices, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.902(j)--one copy for each spouse GO 4) One Marital Settlement Agreement, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.902(f)(3), which both partners fill out together a sign; and 5) One Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.990(a)
Fill out the forms. Get whatever documentation the forms call for, including proof of Florida residency. If, for some reason, one spouse doesn't have a valid Florida state identification such as a driver's license, you might need a notarized affidavit from someone stating that you have lived in Florida at least 6 months.
Submit the paperwork at the appropriate Circuit Courthouse, and pay the filing fee. Fees vary by county, but most range from $250 to $410 (as of 2008). If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can ask for special consideration for indigents, but that will slow up the process.
Complete the Civil Court Cover Sheet, Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Form 1.997 at the time you pay your fee; a clerk might fill it out for you during a brief interview. At this time, you can choose if there will be any name change involved, so the new name becomes part of the divorce decree.
Get the divorce court date. The clerk might give you the date on the spot, or might mail it to you.
Go to court. For a simple, uncontested divorce, be prepared to go to court together. A judge will inquire briefly about whether you both agree to end the marriage, and whether you agree about how to divide property and debts. If you do agree, you'll both sign the divorce decree. Copies of the forms will be mailed to both your addresses within a few weeks.
- Make extra copies of your divorce decree, which you'll need to change your name and for Social Security, income tax and insurance purposes.
- Beware of websites that offer to help you get an easy, no-fault divorce for a fee. You probably don't need their services, because this system is designed to work without attorney assistance.