Filing For Divorce in Florida
If you are filing for divorce in Florida, each circuit may have specific requirements depending on where you file. If you have specific questions about your case, you should contact an experienced family law attorney for advice.
Preparing Your Forms
The first step in filing for divorce in Florida is making sure that you’re filing the correct forms for your divorce, or “dissolution of marriage,” as it is called in Florida. You should file for divorce in the county which you live in. You also must have been a resident of that county for a minimum of 6 months prior to filing for divorce.
The first form to complete when filing for divorce is the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The spouse filing for divorce is the “petitioner,” and the other spouse is the “respondent.”
Filing Your Forms
Filing for divorce means you have given your petition for dissolution of marriage to the clerk’s office of the circuit court for the county where you are filing. You will need to have your petition notarized before filing with the court; most courthouses will have a notary present who can do this for a fee. You’ll give a copy of your signed and notarized petition to the clerk, along with the filing fee for a dissolution of marriage, and they should give you a copy with a date stamp and notation showing that it has been filed with the court. Be sure to make a copy of the petition for yourself, as well as an additional copy to serve on your spouse.
Serving Your Forms
You have to give your spouse a copy of your filed petition for dissolution of marriage; this is called “serving” your petition. There are a number of ways to serve your spouse with your petition.
If your spouse agrees, your spouse or your spouse’s attorney can simply accept service. Your spouse should complete a form you can find at your county clerk’s office called an “Answer and Waiver of Service.” This form must be signed and notarized.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to have the sheriff’s office of your county deliver the petition to your spouse. Check with your circuit court clerk’s office to see if your sheriff’s office will serve your spouse with your petition on your behalf.
Florida requires you to turn over a completed and signed financial affidavit to your spouse within 45 days of the date your petition for dissolution of marriage is served. You can get a blank financial affidavit from your circuit court clerk’s office. The types of information and documents you can expect to turn over include:
- tax returns
- bank statements
- credit card statements
- personal financial statements
- any other documentation containing financial information that your spouse or the court should know before the divorce.