Overview Of The Divorce Time Frame In Florida
Every divorce, just like every family, is unique. While the details of
your individual case will be different from those in any other case, there
are certain deadlines and time frames that must be met. Further, certain
steps must be taken in order to reach the end result of a final decree.
To better prepare you for your own experience, here is a brief outline
of the divorce process:
Filing of petition — The first step in getting a divorce in Florida is to file your petition
for dissolution of marriage with the family law court. Either you or your
spouse may file the petition. There is no advantage or disadvantage to
filing first. In the petition, the filing party will set out his or her
terms for the divorce, including for
child custody and
Response to petition — After the petition has been filed and served,
the other spouse has a period of 20 days in which to prepare and file a
response. The response may either accept the terms which were proposed in the original
petition, or it may be a challenge to the petition, with its own counter-claims.
If the respondent does not file a response before the deadline, the petitioning
spouse may request a default be entered, making it possible to win by
a lack of involvement by the other party.
Temporary hearings — It is possible to schedule a temporary hearing immediately after this 20-day
period, at which either spouse may file a motion for temporary relief.
The goal of pursuing such a motion is to obtain temporary orders or injunctions
concerning the dissipation of finances, possession of the marital home,
alimony payments and child custody and
Exchange of financial information — The next stage of divorce is a period of mandatory disclosure of financial
information. You and your spouse will both be required to exchange bank
records, tax returns, 401(k)s and other financial statements. As a result,
the attorneys representing both sides will have an opportunity to get
a full and accurate picture of each spouse’s financial situation
in order to pursue action for equitable distribution and payment of child
support and alimony.
Alternative dispute resolution — Once everything has been laid out in the open, you and your spouse will
most likely be required to attend
mediation in an attempt to avoid a
contested divorce in the courtroom. In mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a neutral
third party whose role is to facilitate discussion, rather than to advocate
for either party and to assist you and your spouse in the pursuit of an
Litigation — In the event that you are unable to resolve the issues in your divorce
through mediation or other out-of-court negotiation strategies, it will
be necessary to go to court for a trial. At the trial, both parties will
have the opportunity to introduce evidence and witnesses and to seek to
convince the judge to rule in their favor.
How You Can Speed Up The Process
There is no way to predict with accuracy exactly how long your divorce
will take, given that some divorces are more complex than others. One
of the most important factors that will influence the duration of your
divorce is your engagement with the process and the decisions you make
along the way.
The absolute minimum period of time that a divorce may take is 20 days,
but this only occurs when the parties bring a fully prepared settlement
agreement along with the petition for dissolution, as in an
uncontested divorce, or when one party wins summary judgment against the other. In many cases,
the divorce will take much longer. You can greatly improve your chances
of a swift divorce with a minimum of stress by hiring an experienced divorce
lawyer from Anne E. Raduns, P.A.
To schedule a confidential consultation regarding your divorce concerns,
call us at (352) 310-8235. We represent clients in Ocala, The Villages
and throughout Central Florida.