Reviewed by Samantha Dammer

Samantha Dammer

The State of Florida is a purely no-fault divorce state, meaning the court will not assign fault to either party for the divorce. Florida law states that one party must state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" as its single grounds for divorce. This is commonly known as irreconcilable differences, i.e., the two parties no longer get along. In Florida there are two different ways of getting a divorce: the first and most common is the Regular Dissolution of Marriage, and the second is Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

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In both cases, if a non-lawyer helps you fill out these forms, that person must give you a copy of a Disclosure from Non-lawyer, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form, before he or she helps you. A non-lawyer helping you fill out these forms also must put his or her name, address, and telephone number on the bottom of the last page of every form he or she helps you complete.

Regular Dissolution of Marriage

To begin the Regular Dissolution of marriage, a petition for dissolution must be filed with the circuit court by the husband or wife. This petition must state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" and outline what the petitioning party wants from the court. The other partner must then file an answer to the petition within 20 days. The answer must address the matters brought forth in the original petition and may (and most often does) raise additional issues that the answering party wishes to address. The person starting the divorce action (Petitioner) needs to complete one of the following Petitions that best applies to the parties' circumstances:

One of the following Answer forms should be completed by the spouse who was served with the Petition (the Respondent).  The first form is appropriate for spouses who agree on all conditions.

Next, both parties must fill out their own Notice of Social Security Number form, and then fill out the Divorce Settlement Agreement together if they are in agreement regarding the terms of the divorce.  If the parties are not in agreement this document should not be completed. You can use Rocket Lawyer's easy interview process to complete a Divorce Settlement Agreement that is tailored to your needs.

Next, the original copy of the petition, the Financial Affidavit Form, the Notice of Social Security Number Form and the Divorce Settlement Agreement form, should be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the couple resides.

Each party must then provide financial documents and a completed financial affidavit to the other party within 45 days of the petition service. Without this information the court can dismiss the case or not consider a party's requests. If the parties have completed a Divorce Settlement Agreement and waived the Financial Affidavit requirements neither of these forms are necessary. Some financial documents are not necessary if the court modifies the requirements. However a financial affidavit is mandatory in all cases where any financial relief is sought unless waived in the Divorce Settlement Agreement by both parties.

If children are involved, a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and Child Custody Affidavit must also be filed before any hearing on child support. This requirement may not be waived.

After filing the forms, the husband and/or wife must then prove that they are residents of Florida and have been residents for at least 6 months. Residency can be proved by presenting a valid driver's license, valid testimony of another person, or a signed and notarized Affidavit of Corroborating Witness.

At this stage the couple must pay filing fees to file the forms in the circuit court. Either the couple or the clerk of court will need to complete a civil cover sheet found in Form 1.997 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. The clerk's office can provide this form. After filing the form, the next and nearly final step is to set a date and time for a court appearance before a judge and bring with you the Final Judgment of Dissolution that applies to your situation:

Uncontested Divorce (A divorce where the Marital Settlement Agreement was signed)

Contested Divorce (Where the divorcing parties do not agree on the terms of divorce and want the judge to make the final determination):

If all the papers are in order the judge may grant you a final dissolution of your marriage by signing the final judgment of Dissolution of Marriage Form.

Steps to Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

Only certain Floridian couples are eligible for Simplified Dissolution, which is meant to be executed with little to no help from an attorney. Couples must file all the necessary documents correctly, and both parties are required to appear before a judge when the final dissolution is granted. A couple only qualifies for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage if all of the following statements are true:

  • They both agree to the use of this form of dissolution proceeding
  • They have no minor (under 18) or dependent children
  • They have no adopted children under the age of 18
  • The wife is not pregnant
  • At least one of the parties has lived in Florida for the past six months
  • The parties have agreed on the division of all of their property (assets) and obligations (debts)
  • Both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and want to end their marriage because of serious permanent differences

Both husband and wife must fill out this petition form in the presence of a deputy clerk.

All the subsequent steps are like the regular dissolution of marriage, up to completing a civil cover sheet, garnering a date and time for your court appearance before a judge, and bringing the Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. If all the papers are in order the judge may grant you a final dissolution of your marriage by signing the final judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Form.

Whether you and your spouse disagree on the terms of the divorce, or you need help with your Simple Dissolution, you can use Rocket Lawyer to Find a Lawyerto help.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.

About Samantha Dammer

Samantha Dammer is an attorney licensed in Florida and Illinois, concentrating her practice in bankruptcy law, general and real estate litigation, foreclosure solutions, family law, business law as well as comprehensive asset protection and debt restructuring. Ms. Dammer graduated first in her class from St. Xavier University in Chicago. Thereafter, she attended law school at Valparaiso University School of Law, where she was the Executive Symposium Editor for the law review. Ms. Dammer graduated from Valpo Law School Magna Cum Laude in 1998.