If you are contemplating divorce, the attorneys of Hertz • Sager, will guide you through the divorce process with experience and understanding. The attorneys of Hertz • Sager, have represented numerous clients throughout the State of Florida in their divorce proceedings. As a client of ours, we will consult with you about each proceeding in your case. We will provide you with all documents and letters that are created in your case so you will always know the status of your divorce proceeding.
Florida is a pure no fault state, which means you do not need consent from your spouse to get divorced. However, you do need to state a legal reason to get divorced. Under Florida law, there are two legal grounds for divorce. One reason is that one party has been declared legally incompetent for more than three consecutive years preceding the petition for dissolution of marriage. The other reason is that the marriage is considered “irretrievably broken.” This reason is far more common. “Irretrievably broken” means that there are disputes such that a complete marital breakdown has occurred and there is nothing that a court can do to reconcile the marriage between the parties.
In Florida, a divorce is referred to as a “dissolution of marriage.” In order to initiate a divorce proceeding, a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed with the circuit court in the county where you and your spouse last lived together as a married couple, or in a county where either party presently resides. Either spouse can file the petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition contains the filing party’s allegations that the marriage is irretrievably broken, as well as other requirements establishing the existence of the marriage and the residence of the parties. So long as one party has resided in the State of Florida for at least six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken, you can obtain a divorce in Florida.
Bear in mind that your divorce may be either uncontested or contested. Uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree upon all of the settlement terms of your divorce. Contested divorce means you and your spouse are in disagreement and unable to settle without litigation. If your divorce is contested, your spouse must file an answer to your petition within 20 days of being served, addressing the matters set forth in the initial petition. Your spouse may also include in the answer, a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage to raise any additional issues for the court to address, and you must file your answer to the counter-petition within 20 days of receipt. In a contested divorce, litigation may become necessary for the court to address all issues raised in the petition and counter-petition. Alternatives such as mediation and/or negotiating a marital settlement agreement through counsel can help resolve these issues outside of court and help reduce costs. If you cannot agree on all issues, a final hearing or trial is required. Each party will present evidence and testimony to the judge during the final hearing, and then the judge makes the final decision on the contested issues.
If you have been served with a petition for dissolution of marriage or are contemplating filing for divorce, contact the experienced attorneys of Hertz • Sager to handle all issues relating to your divorce. Please contact us either online or by telephone at 305.444.3323 to schedule a consultation.