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When most people hear the word "divorce," they picture an intense battle in the courtroom—but that's not the only way to dissolve a marriage. Engaging in an uncontested divorce can help you and your spouse dissolve your marriage with less conflict.
At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., we're happy to offer uncontested divorce services to our clients. Our Palm Harbor uncontested divorce lawyers can help you navigate your uncontested divorce with confidence, working with you to achieve the optimal outcome in your case.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce ?
In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on how to handle every aspect of the divorce. That means you and your spouse need to agree on terms for:
- Property division. You and your soon-to-be-ex should agree on how you'll divide the marital assets and liabilities you have.
- Child custody and support. If you have children, you need to agree on how you'll handle custody and child support.
- Alimony. If one party will need spousal support post-divorce, you need to come to terms on how you'll handle that.
If you and your ex can agree on how to proceed with all the above processes, you can file for an uncontested divorce. However, if you disagree on any of those elements, you'll need to file for a contested divorce. It is worth noting that a divorce can start out contested, and then transition into an uncontested divorce as the parties negotiate with one another. To learn more about the contested divorce process, visit our contested divorce page.
How Do I File for an Uncontested Divorce in Palm Harbor?
There are actually two ways to get an uncontested divorce in Florida. One is by filing for a "simplified dissolution of marriage." The other is by filing for an uncontested divorce.
Filing for a simplified dissolution is one of the fastest ways to resolve a divorce in Florida, but the eligibility requirements are relatively strict. To file for a simplified dissolution, you must:
- Not share any minor or dependent children with your spouse;
- Not be pregnant;
- Have lived in Florida for at least six months;
- Agree on how to divide all assets and debts;
- Not seek alimony from your partner (and vice versa).
If you meet the above requirements and want to file for a simplified dissolution, you should head to the clerk's office at your county court and request simplified dissolution of marriage forms. The clerk will provide forms that you both need to fill out.
Before filing for a simplified dissolution, you should consider speaking with a divorce lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you understand whether filing for a simplified dissolution is really the best option for you, and can work with you to preserve your best interests during the divorce process.
In many instances, parties fail to meet the requirements to file for a simplified dissolution. In that case, you'll need to file for a "regular” dissolution of marriage.
To file for an uncontested divorce using a regular dissolution, you must complete the following steps:
- You (acting as the petitioner) must file a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" form with the county court.
- Serve the other party (the respondent) with a notice of the divorce. A third party, like a law enforcement officer, must serve the respondent. The respondent has 20 days from the day they were served to respond to the Petition.
- Fill out a financial affidavit. Both parties must complete a financial affidavit, detailing all assets and liabilities they possess.
- Form a marital settlement agreement. At this stage, in an uncontested divorce, both parties work together to draft a "Marital Settlement Agreement." The agreement lays forth terms for the divorce that both parties have agreed on. The agreement must be notarized and signed by both spouses.
- Attend the final hearing. Finally, both spouses must present the agreement to the court and attend a final hearing. The judge presiding over the case will review the agreement to ensure that it's legally sound. If the judge approves the agreement they'll sign off on it, finalizing the divorce.
Filing for an uncontested divorce enables you to dissolve your marriage in a low-stress, cost-effective manner. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our Palm Harbor uncontested divorce attorneys can help you make the best decisions for your future as you work to finalize your divorce.
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