Certain couples are eligible to dissolve their marriage by way of a simplified procedure. This type of dissolution was designed so the services of an attorney might not be necessary. Spouses are responsible, however, for filing all necessary documents correctly, and both parties are required to appear before a judge together when the final dissolution is granted.
You can retain an attorney to represent you even in an uncontested matter. The cost for such services is generally much less than in a contested case. You can further reduce your attorney’s fees if you ensure that you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all issues that will reduce the attorney’s work.
Eligibility requirements for simplified dissolution:
Not everyone can use the simplified procedure. Couples can use the simplified dissolution of marriage only if all the following requirements are met:
- Both parties agree to the use of this form of dissolution proceeding.
- They have no minor (under 18) or dependent children.
- They have no adopted children under the age of 18.
- Neither party is pregnant.
- At least one of the parties has lived in Florida for the past six months.
- The parties have agreed on the division of all of their property (assets) and obligations (debts).
Neither party is seeking alimony.
- Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If you and your spouse cannot meet all of the above requirements, you will have to follow the procedure of the regular dissolution of marriage process.
Differences between regular and simplified dissolution proceedings:
There are substantial differences between a simplified and a regular dissolution of marriage. In a regular dissolution, each spouse has the right to examine and cross-examine the other as a witness. Each spouse also has the ability to obtain documents concerning the other’s income, expenses, assets and debts before a trial or settlement. With a simplified dissolution, financial information may be requested by either party, but disclosing financial information is not required.
Obtaining the forms for simplified dissolution proceedings:
If spouses seek a dissolution and prefer to use the simplified form of dissolution, they should both contact the clerk of the circuit court in their county and obtain a copy of the booklet titled “Simplified Dissolution Information” for more detailed information and forms.