Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Divorce is often a complex and drawn-out process, but it does not always have to be. In some cases, when spouses have no minor children, agree on property division, and forego alimony, they can get an uncontested divorce, known in Florida as a simplified dissolution of marriage. This form of dissolution may be used if the spouses remain amicable and cooperate with each other in ending the marriage. If you are considering divorce, an experienced family law attorney can advise you on whether you may be eligible for a simplified dissolution.
In Florida, only some couples are eligible to file for an uncontested divorce. Divorcing spouses may file a petition for simplified dissolution if several conditions are satisfied:
- The spouses agree that the marriage cannot be saved
- The spouses have no minor or dependent children together
- The wife is not pregnant
- The spouses have determined on their own how to divide their assets and liabilities and agree on a plan
- Neither spouse seeks alimony
- The spouses are willing to give up their rights to trial and appeal
- The spouses are willing to go to the clerk’s office to sign the petition
- The spouses are both willing to attend the final hearing
Additionally, at least one spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing the petition for divorce.
When the spouses come to an agreement on how to divide their property, they may file a Marital Settlement Agreement with the clerk of court. If they choose, they may instead agree orally on how to divide the assets and debts.
In a regular divorce, the spouses must fill out a financial affidavit and exchange information about their finances. But in simplified dissolution, the spouses may waive that requirement, saving time and expense.
The first step to obtaining a simplified dissolution is filing a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The spouses can file all necessary documents with the clerk of court in the county where either spouse lives.
After filing the petition, the spouses must set up a date for a final hearing in court. They sign a Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage and bring it to the hearing. At the hearing, the judge reviews the Marital Settlement Agreement. If the spouses have not signed a Marital Settlement Agreement, the judge hears their oral agreements as to how to dispose of their assets and liabilities.
After the court has inspected the petition and examined the spouses, the judge will sign the judgment and grant the divorce. Each spouse will be given a copy of the final judgment.
A simplified dissolution of marriage may be a quicker and more pleasant method for divorce for couples who wish to proceed amicably. However, since the parties do give up some rights, such as their right to a trial and any right to alimony, it is important to consult with an attorney to make sure that a simplified dissolution is the right choice for you. Please contact the West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a free initial consultation.