Step by Step: The Process of Filing for a Divorce in Florida
Divorce is a subject that many people know very little about, until they are looking into it as an option for themselves. The legal jargon, emotions, and personal issues surrounding the subject, and the financial side of filing for divorce can be overwhelming and stressful if you aren’t prepared. Divorce isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and you want to make sure you have conditioned yourself prior to beginning the journey. Below are some of the steps you will take on the road to filing for divorce in Florida.
- You will need to prepare your paperwork. The first form you will fill out is called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” You, the spouse filing for divorce, is referred to as the petitioner, and your former partner is referred to as the “respondent” when discussing the divorce. Conditions of your divorce will vary, but the petition will need to include anything you want the court to handle, such as alimony and division of assets, custody of children, etc.
- File your form. After obtaining your notarized petition, you will file your paperwork with the clerk’s office of the circuit court for the county in which you are filing. The clerk will give you a copy of the forms with a dated stamp showing they have been filed with the court. Keep this copy of the petition for yourself and have an additional copy to give to your spouse whom you are filing against.
- Serving your petition. You will need to “serve” the petition paperwork to your spouse, and that can be done in one of several ways. Depending on where you live, you can simply present the paperwork to your spouse or their attorney can simply accept service. In some countries, the sheriff’s office can serve your papers to your spouse for you, and sometimes you will be offered a private process server to take the papers on your behalf. The method in which to serve your divorce papers is up to you, and will vary depending on the individual circumstances.
- The final step in the initial divorce filing process is a financial affidavit. In Florida, you are required to present your spouse with a completed affidavit within 45 days of serving them the initial petition for dissolution of marriage. This document will include all information about your income, assets, debts (and related statements), and any other pertinent financial data. You can acquire a blank affidavit form from your circuit court clerk’s office.
The next logical step in filing for divorce is to find a lawyer to stand beside you during the process. Sessums Law Group is here serving the greater Tampa Bay area, and our legal team will not only stand beside you, but WE STAND FOR YOU when you need representation that can get results. If you are seeking a divorce from your spouse, or if you have been served papers and aren’t sure where to turn next, give us a call.