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​Divorce Law

The first thing to remember about divorce in Florida is that it doesn’t have to be one parties fault.  Florida is a no fault state, which means that two people can get a divorce without anyone proving who is to blame.  You don’t need to prove that one party cheated on the other, didn’t try hard enough to keep the marriage together, or anything along those lines. 

Once a party is 100% certain they want a divorce and there is no chance of reconciliation, there are still many things to think about:

  • What is the process?
  1. Petition filed – this tells the court about the situation. The other party is served with the paperwork.  In addition to the Petition, the parties must file a Financial Affidavit (unless they agree to waive this requirement and are not disputing assets/debts), Notice of Social Security Number (this will be kept private from anyone not involved in the case), and the Uniform Child Custody and Enforcement Act (if the parties have children).

  2. Answer filed – this responds to the petition. The other party tells the court and you if they agree or disagree to the things you said in the petition. A person has 20 days from the time they are served the petition to file the answer.

  3. Exchange of other documents – The parties must exchange documents under Mandatory Disclosure that deals with the finances they listed on the financial affidavit, including items such as tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs.

  4. Mediation – Florida courts encourage parties to come to a resolution on their own, with the help of a mediator. At mediation, both parties are heard and the mediator tries to help them come to a solution on all or some issues. If an agreement is reached at mediation, a proposed order is sent to the judge and this is the last step.

  5. Trial – An opportunity for both parties to tell the court their position on any unresolved issues and the court will make a decision. 

How does the court make these decisions?

  • Family law court is a “court of equity” and therefore, the standard for distribution of assets and debts is “equitable distribution.” Equitable distribution does not mean that everything will be split completely down the middle, but does mean that the court is going to look at the entirety of the case and try to make the parties as equal as possible in how things are allocated.

  • Another standard that frequently comes up in dissolution of marriage cases involving children is “best interest of the child/children.” This is the standard in which the court is obligated to make their decisions regarding issues that involve the children.

  • Depending on what the situation is and which statute the child issue falls under, the court has a set number of factors to consider in determining what is in the “best interest of the child/children.” We are able to look at those factors and help you understand from an early stage what the court is likely to do given what each side contributes to each of those factors.

How long will it take?

  • Typically, the entire process will take about 6 months if the parties agree on everything,
    if the parties do not agree on the division of assets, then the divorce can take years!

A divorce or legally a dissolution of marriage, is the process of ending a marriage through the court system. A dissolution of marriage will provide both you and the other person the protections and rights that each of you are allowed under the law.

There are three main types of dissolution:

  1. uncontested
  2. contested without children
  3. contested with children


Divorce Documents

What kind of divorce do you want? 

  • An uncontested dissolution means you and the other party either A) have no property, assets or liabilities to divide or B) you and the other party agree to the terms of dividing property, time-sharing, assets or liabilities.

  • Contested without children means the two parties have no children in common but do not agree about the division of property, assets or liabilities.

  • Contested with children means that the two parties have children in common, but that time-sharing and child support need to be established, as well as issues surrounding assets, liabilities, and property.
  • (FORMS FOR SIMPLE DIVORCES).  If you do not qualify for a simple divorce for any reason, then you have to file a petition for dissolution of marriage.

Lastly, understand that it will get worse before it gets better, most of the time no one “wins” a divorce but in many circumstances a divorce is what is best for ALL parties involved.  If this is still something that you are thinking about, give us at Jordan Law a call at (407) 906-JLAW (5529).  We treat our clients like family and we are here for you.