An uncontested divorce is simply a divorce in which you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all terms, including a parenting plan, child support, alimony, and the division of your property and debts. Consider that a conventional divorce typically involves spouses disputing these issues in court, oftentimes spending thousands of dollars on attorney’s fees, mediators, and experts. This process may last anywhere from six months to several years, all while draining you emotional and financially. If you and your spouse meet the criteria for an uncontested divorce, you could save yourselves time, money and stress.
The uncontested divorce still requires navigating the legal system. One spouse must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court, with payment of the required court filing fees, typically $400. The Petition contains basic language required for divorce in Florida, including that you are a Florida resident and that your marriage is irretrievably broken. Your spouse must sign an Answer, admitting to the statements made in the Petition. If you and your spouse have certain property, you both must complete and sign a Financial Affidavit, listing your income, expenses, assets and debts. Your Financial Affidavits are filed with the court. If you and your spouse have children, you both must complete an online parenting course. Upon completing the course, your Certificates of Completion are filed with the court. After all necessary documents are filed, the court will verify the requirements for divorce and restore you both to single, either through a short 10-minute hearing or through written questions. Only the
petitioning spouse needs to attend the hearing, if required by the court.
The most important part of your uncontested divorce is the Marital Settlement Agreement, the contract that memorializes all terms agreed upon by you and your spouse. This agreement will be filed with the court, approved by a judge, and made into a court order. The more clearly and comprehensively the agreement is written, the less potential there is for confusion or fighting later. This is where many couples go wrong. To save money and without legal knowledge, many couples attempt to write their own agreement based on internet forms, only to find out too late that their agreement wasn’t as clear or complete as they thought. Then their previously amicable relationship dissolves, and they spend more time and money trying to fix these errors.
This is why it is important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse have anything of value – children or property or debt – you want to make sure they are handled correctly. You should understand all of your rights and obligations imposed by your agreement, and your agreement should properly address your parenting plan, property division, and alimony. An experienced attorney can also ask you questions you may not have thought of to make sure your agreement addresses common situations that could arise in the future, such as a holiday parenting schedule or refinancing a home.
Rachel Borntreger handles an uncontested divorce for a flat fee which includes the costs of filing your case and recording the final judgment. We prepare the court filings, including the Petition, Answer, Financial Affidavits, Marital Settlement Agreement, and final court order. We guide you through the legal process and communicate with the court on your behalf. If a hearing is required, we represent you at this hearing. Florida law does not allow an attorney to represent both spouses in a divorce. If you decide to hire our firm, we advise and represent only you and not your spouse.
To learn more about the uncontested divorce proceeding, contact our office at (850) 694-1411 to schedule your initial consultation.