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A  man and woman working at a laptop on a divorce decree

For many married people, the pursuit of a divorce doesn’t necessarily mean lawyers and a protracted process. Indeed, a divorce can be granted by a judge without lawyers being involved, so long as both parties to the marriage are in agreement on the terms of the divorce.

The Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Process:

By using what Florida calls the “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage Process,” a couple can obtain a relatively quick divorce without attorney involvement, so long as they have agreed upon all terms and conditions of the divorce. In short, it must be uncontested. The parties can even have children under the age of 18 and dependent children. The wife can’t be pregnant, and alimony or spousal maintenance can’t be involved. One of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the State of Florida for at least six months before the filing date. Finally, the parties must agree to all of the terms of the divorce while being in agreement that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

The Court Procedure:

Contrary to what some people believe, a court appearance is mandatory. If children are involved, both parties must successfully attend a parenting class required by the Department of Child and Family Services. Custody and visitation must also be agreed upon. The child or children must have resided with the custodial parent for the requisite residency period. If you have children, both parties are required to have attended the parenting class, child support must be provided for. Child support guidelines exist for this purpose.

The Marital Settlement Agreement:

You’ll also need a written marital settlement agreement that is signed by both parties to the divorce. All issues contemplated in the divorce must appear in it. Keep the fact in mind that the presiding judge may have some questions for you. If he or she is dissatisfied with the paperwork, it can be rejected and a divorce denied until such time as correction or amendment is made. Then, the process of your divorce could then turn into several months.

Bring Copies of All Completed Forms with You:

It’s strongly recommended that you bring the originals and two copies of all completed forms with you. If the judge grants your divorce, have the copies of the documents file stamped. They’ll be returned to you, and there will be a copy for yourself and your spouse. These might save considerable time in the future, especially if you move thousands of miles away, and you want to remarry in the future. A certified copy of your divorce decree is preferred. Inquire with the judge’s clerk about how you get a copy of the decree certified.

Divorce packets of all simplified divorce documents are available at no cost at all county courthouses.  Circuit Court Clerks working in the divorce division are unable to give you legal advice, but they can tell you what you need to file for a simplified divorce. A filing fee will be due at the time of filing. If you’re going to become divorced, a simplified divorce may be an alternative with the same effect, so long as both parties are in agreement. With no lawyers and an accelerated procedure, it might be well worth looking into.

Contact a Tampa Divorce Lawyer:

We can not advise you to use or not use a lawyer without consulting with you. In many cases, you should have a seasoned divorce lawyer on your side. If you’re near our Tampa location, please visit our Tampa Divorce Lawyers online to learn more about how we take your divorce seriously.

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