The dissolution of a marriage comes with a whirlwind of emotions. People are often ready to get through it and move on. One of the most common questions we get is,
“How long does a divorce take in Florida?”
The short answer: it depends on the circumstances.
There is a specific divorce process that everyone going through one should be aware of to prepare themselves. Multiple factors can influence the Florida divorce process timeline, including those involving finances, children, and the willingness of both parties to comply with the steps needed for finalization.
One of the primary issues that will determine the length is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. Uncontested divorces mean that the parties have reached an agreement regarding all aspects of the issues of their divorce. Generally speaking, this refers to how amicable the couple is about getting the divorce and what they are willing to do to get it finalized.
The following information will provide detailed answers to “How long does a divorce take in Florida?” so you can better understand what you have in front of you, what it takes to get there, and how a divorce attorney can help.
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The Florida Divorce Process Timeline Explained
There are standard steps in the Florida divorce process timeline. Each one serves an important purpose in fulfilling state requirements. Some will be quicker than others, and some can cause delays. This is particularly relevant in contested divorces. Serving petitions and negotiating the distribution of assets can be challenging, especially if one party does not want to comply. Also, determining all aspects of the parenting plan can also be challenging and typically is the most time-consuming aspect of litigation.
Here is a general overview of the process from start to finish:
First, it starts with the decision to move forward with the divorce > Next is gathering information required for the case. > Filing the petition. > Serving the petition. > Financial disclosures. >Additional Discovery. > Completion of Parenting Course > Negotiation > Mandatory Mediation Conference > Final hearing.
A simplified dissolution of marriage or “quick” divorce can occur when there are no children, no seeking of alimony, both parties have lived in Florida for at least six months, and both parties agree to the terms. This generally only takes about 30 days.
Uncontested divorces typically have shorter divorce timelines than contested divorces and generally take a few months from start to finish. It is difficult to determine the timeline of a contested divorce, the key factors are compliance with discovery requests along with the wait to obtain court hearing dates from the Judge.
What is the Timeframe to Respond to a Petition for Divorce in Florida?
When a spouse is served with a divorce action, the spouse has 20 days to file a response under Florida Statues. If the spouse being served decides that additional time is needed to secure representation and formulate an Answer, an extension may be requested to extend the timeline.
Other extenuating circumstances may delay the served spouse responding to the Petition, such as one party being in the military and about to be deployed to a combat zone.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces: Understanding the Differences
When considering the question, “How long does a divorce take in Florida?” understanding the differences between contested and uncontested divorces provides key information for your particular situation.
A contested divorce occurs when the couple is not in agreement on the issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. This could be if they disagree with the decision to get a divorce, differences in how assets and liabilities will be distributed, parenting arrangements and child support, alimony, tax exemptions, etc. It only takes one disagreement on one issue to be a contested divorce.
How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Florida?
In a contested divorce, discovery and financial disclosure take months once the spouse is served and an answer is delivered. Then negotiations begin to determine the parameters of the divorce. Factors that can prolong a contested divorce include the complexity of your situation, how negotiations proceed, and the availability of court schedules for the hearing.
One spouse may cause significant delays, such as avoiding the petition, hiding assets, or raising issues with the parenting agreement or alimony.
How long does a contested divorce take in Florida?
Contested divorces generally take anywhere from nine months to three years to finalize. Incredibly complex and contentious cases may take up to five years or more, but this is rare.
An uncontested divorce means that both parties completely agree on all issues related to the dissolution of the marriage. This includes the division of assets and liabilities, parenting arrangements and child support, alimony (if it will be paid and how much), tax exemptions, and any other details. Each spouse has to cooperate efficiently with the process.
Uncontested divorces are typically the shortest in duration. When couples disagree on one or more issues, it can take much longer to finalize.
In order to understand how long your divorce might take, it is necessary to learn about the factors that can influence the duration of both types of divorces.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Florida?
An uncontested divorce is more streamlined and takes less time for each step. Generally, it takes several weeks to prepare the filing, and then after the mandatory waiting period, the documentation is reviewed by each party and finalized at the hearing.
Agreement on terms and conditions can speed up an uncontested divorce.
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Florida?
The standard time range is four weeks to three months, depending on whether you qualify for a simplified divorce.
Factors That Impact the Length of Your Florida Divorce Process
Major factors influencing the duration of a divorce in Florida include the willingness to negotiate, case complexity, and court schedules. The more challenging it is to come to terms and the more complex the case is, the longer it will prolong the process. If both parties comply and are willing to compromise, this will expedite it.
Tips for Navigating the Florida Divorce Process
Communication and organization are central to navigating the divorce process. This helps to streamline efforts and keep the process moving forward.
Seeking legal advice is vital. Hiring a divorce attorney to guide you through the process will not only ensure you have a strong advocate for your interests but also help avoid or minimize delays and ensure the divorce parameters are legally binding.
The Realities of Divorce in Florida
How long does a divorce take in Florida? The duration depends on various factors, including the type of divorce and the case’s specific circumstances.
Whether you are considering getting a divorce or have been served, seek legal advice from a qualified, caring St. Petersburg divorce attorney”>St. Petersburg divorce attorney at Golden Key Law Group for personalized guidance.
Contact us today for legal assistance for your Florida divorce case. We work aggressively as your legal advocate in all aspects of family law.