Florida Family Law Statutes state that in order to obtain a divorce in the state of Florida, either you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months prior to filing the Petition for Dissolution. There is no waiting period in Florida, so once residency status is affirmed, an attorney can prepare the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your family law attorney will sit down with you and go over all the issues related to your divorce, including what you would like to receive from the marriage as far as assets, spousal support and child custody. A copy of the Petition for Dissolution, along with a Summons will be served on your spouse, through certified mail, a private process server or the local Sheriff. Once your spouse receives the Petition he or she has twenty days in which to answer the Petition, and may also file a counter-claim petition.
Once you file your Petition for Dissolution, you must complete and file with the Florida court clerk an anonymous, informational questionnaire; the completed questionnaire will be filed separately from all your other papers to be distributed to the Florida State University for Marriage and Family at a later date. In most all cases, your divorce will not be finalized until at least 20 days have gone by since the date of filing the original Petition for Dissolution. The exception to this rule would be if you can definitively show that this delay would cause an injustice. In such a case, the judge may decide to enter a final judgment sooner. If you have further questions regarding the process used when filing for a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, an attorney from The Law Place will be happy to speak with you and answer those questions. Our attorneys are professional, experienced and knowledgeable regarding Florida family law. The following statutes relate to residency requirements, the actual filing of the Petition for Dissolution and the time frame regarding final judgment:
§61.021 Residence requirements.—To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition
§61.043 Commencement of a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for alimony and child support; dissolution questionnaire.—
(1) A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or a proceeding under s. 61.09 shall be commenced by filing in the circuit court a petition entitled “In re the marriage of , husband, and , wife.” A copy of the petition together with a copy of a summons shall be served upon the other party to the marriage in the same manner as service of papers in civil actions generally.
(2) Upon filing for dissolution of marriage, the petitioner must complete and file with the clerk of the circuit court an unsigned anonymous informational questionnaire. For purposes of anonymity, completed questionnaires must be kept in a separate file for later distribution by the clerk to researchers from the Florida State University Center for Marriage and Family. These questionnaires must be made available to researchers from the Florida State University Center for Marriage and Family at their request. The actual questionnaire shall be formulated by researchers from Florida State University who shall distribute them to the clerk of the circuit court in each county.
§61.19 Entry of judgment of dissolution of marriage, delay period.—No final judgment of dissolution of marriage may be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the date of filing the original petition for dissolution of marriage; but the court, on a showing that injustice would result from this delay, may enter a final judgment of dissolution of marriage at an earlier date.