Simplified divorce is a very specific type of divorce in Florida. As the name implies, it is designed for people to get divorced simply. You donâ€™t even need an attorney!
In fact, in the twelve months ending June 2020, 12.7% of all divorces in Florida were simplified divorce matters!
Unfortunately, it isnâ€™t available to everyone. In order to qualify, the following must ALL be true for you and your spouse:
- The marriage cannot be saved.
- You do not have any minor children together, no children were born during the marriage, and the wife is not pregnant.
- You ALREADY have worked out how you will both divide things between you (ie, assets and liabilities) and are satisfied with it.
- No one is seeking alimony (spousal support).
- You agree to give up the right to a trial and appeal.
- You must both go to the clerkâ€™s office to sign the petition (not necessarily together).
- You are both willing to go to a final hearing in front of a judge.
Do you qualify? If so, then you are in luck!
The Settlement Agreement
Part of this process is that you are telling the court that you and your spouse are in total agreement as to how to divide all assets and liabilities. As lawyers, we usually suggest you have this agreement in writing especially if there is any large or important assets or debts. However, there is no obligation to have the agreement in writing for a simplified divorce.
The Florida Supreme Court has also created a form to memorialize your agreement. It is called a Marital Settlement Agreement (apply named â€œForm 12.902(f)(3)).
How Does The Process Work?
The steps are detailed along with the form 12.901(a) Petition For Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. In short, you both jointly fill it out, file the petition with the court and attend a final hearing.
Youâ€™ll still need to pay the filing fee that everyone else pays and complete some other minor paperwork that the clerk can provide to you.
How Long Does It Take?
It depends upon the case load of the circuit court where you file. Just contact the Clerk Of Court where you live and they should be able to estimate how long it will take to get to a final hearing.
Some Words of Caution
We would always advise you to have a consultation with an attorney before you start any divorce process, so you fully understand divorce law and what you are legally giving up and obligating yourself to. Additionally, if you are planning to use the Simplified Divorce process, I would recommend that you discuss your proposed agreement with an attorney before committing to it. We see too many people that come to us after making agreements trying to undo them later (difficult to do).
If you qualify and are willing to do the small amount of work needed, we whole heartily endorse it! It is inexpensive, easy and fairly fast! If you haven’t already, make sure you understand all the divorce options available to you!