How to get an Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce case, all pertinent issues will be addressed in the marital settlement agreement: equitable distribution of marital property and debt, child support, child custody, alimony and divorce requirements in Florida.
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse have agreed (a) to dissolve your marriage – get divorced (b) how to divide your property and debt, If you have any to divide and (c) how to resolve child related issues, IF you have children.
How long does it take?
Final judgment of divorce (the legal document that says you are divorced) will be entered about 30 days after we file the case with the clerk of court. Florida law provides that a final judgment of dissolution cannot be entered for at least 20 days from filing. If you have selected the “no- hearing” option, neither you or your spouse will need to appear in court. Instead, a copy of the final judgment will be sent to you from the clerk of court or judge’s office once final judgment is entered.
Where will your case be filed?
No Children Cases:
We file a majority of our uncontested cases, without children, in one of the counties that does not require your appearance in court. Instead of going to court for a 2 minute, 7 question hearing, we prepare an affidavit asking you the same questions and file it with the clerk when your case is filed. That document will keep you out of court.
On rare occasions, we will file an uncontested case in the county where you reside. If we believe that there may be an enforcement issue after final judgment is entered (i.e., you need to enforce a provision of the marital settlement agreement) we will give you our opinion about where to file so you can make an informed decision. Most clients follow our advice. Most clients and spouses in an uncontested divorce, do not want to go to a hearing – waste of time and money.
We file a majority of our uncontested cases with children in the county where the children reside. Yes, we offer a no-hearing option in these cases but do not recommend doing that. Why? Because there is a reasonable likelihood that at some time after final judgment is entered, you or your spouse will be returning to court for some reason. Could be to modify child support or timesharing; relocation, enforcement or contempt. If your case is filed in a county that does not require a final hearing and if there is a post-judgment issue that requires you to go back to court, you have two choices:
(1) file the post-judgment case in the county where case was filed or (2) transfer case from where it was back to county where you reside for which you will pay costs and fees. Bottom line: we do not recommend.
We will attend a short final hearing about 30 days after the case is filed. Hearings are usually held early morning and the entire process, including hanging around the courthouse, will take about an hour out of your day – the hearing takes about 3 minutes and you will be asked a series of 6 or 7 “name, rank and serial number” questions – no big deal.
No children: Same as above – divorced about 30 days after filing and no court hearing required.
Children: Same as above – we generally file in the county where you currently reside or where you last resided if you are out of the state. If you are out of state and a hearing is required, we will ask the judge assigned to your case for permission for you to appear by phone; a request that is routinely granted. You will need to be with a notary or officer so that they can identify you for the judge and administer the oath to tell the truth. The hearing will take about 3 minutes.
When will you be divorced?
You will be divorced when the judge signs the final judgment of dissolution. If you attend the hearing, the judge will give you a copy to take with you. If you want certified copies – usually only needed if a woman restores her maiden or former name – the clerk will take you to their office for certified copies. If you chose the “no-hearing” option, the final judgment will be sent to you by the clerk or judge; if you do not get one (it happens sometimes), let us know and we’ll email one to you.
What’s the process for an uncontested divorce?
1. We will have a conference by phone or video (we prefer video and will send a link if you want) to take the information we need to do our work. We need basic information about you and your spouse (date of birth, social security numbers (last 4 only), date of marriage, etc. If you have property and debt to divide, we need to know how you are doing so. If it’s not a lot, we can get the information in one call. If it’s more than “not a lot”, we may need to chat a few times. Many of our clients send us a schedule of how property/debt will be divided. We discuss all issues in detail. If we see an issue, we will let you know what it is and let you know your options.
2. When we have all required information, your documents are prepared within a day or two and are sent by email for review. If all is in order, you will print, sign, notarize and return along with the required financial affidavits – you and your spouse much each fill one out – no exceptions, per the Florida Family Law Rules of Court. We will send you a “spouse package” that you can forward to them. They can return the executed documents to you or us.
3. Upon receipt of all required documents from you and your spouse, your case will be filed through the Florida efiling system. The filing fee is paid at this time by credit/debit card or check (need routing and account numbers). The clerk does not accept VISA for filing fee.
4. When the judge is assigned to your case, usually about 2 days after filing, we forward a final judgment to the court for execution. It is usually signed within 30 days of filing and you will receive a copy directly from the courthouse.
1. Same as above except your case will be scheduled for the short final hearing about 20-30 days after filing. You will receive a notice from us by email and we will schedule a phone/video conference to prepare for the hearing. The hearing takes about 3 minutes and you will be asked a series of 6 or 7 seven “name, rank and serial number questions – no big deal. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will sign the final judgment and give you a copy to take home. On very rare occasions, the final judgment will be mailed. If you want certified copies, the clerk will take you to their office to get them. Unless you restored a maiden/former name, there is no reason for a certified copy.
2. In addition to financial affidavits, you and your spouse will need to fill out the parenting plan form that we send you. It is a visitation schedule and deals with other child related issues. In order to calculate child support, we need both financial affidavits and need to know the number of nights per year that you and your spouse will have the children. We take that information directly from the parenting plan. Child support is a calculation, not a negotiation.
3. Both parents are “required” to take a parenting class. When completed, you will receive a certificate of completion that you will forward to us for filing. You can take the class online and it costs about $20.00. We will forward a link to one of many online classes.