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What is a “Dissolution of Marriage”?
In Florida, the legal term for divorce is “Dissolution of Marriage”.
How long do I need to live in Florida before I can file for a Dissolution of Marriage?
One of the parties to a Dissolution of Marriage must reside in Florida for at least six months.
My spouse does not want a divorce, can I still get one?
Yes. If one party believes that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or if one party has been adjudicated incompetent for more than three years, a dissolution can be granted by the Court.
Where should I file for Dissolution of Marriage?
An action for a Dissolution of Marriage should be filed in the Circuit Court for the county in which the parties last lived together, or alternatively, in the Circuit Court for the county in which the responding party resides.
How long does it take to get a Dissolution of Marriage?
By statute, the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage cannot be entered until 20 days after the Petition is filed. In theory, a Dissolution of Marriage must take at least 20 days. In some instances, where the parties have entered into a settlement agreement, the Court may waive the 20 day waiting period and enter the Final Judgment. However, that is unusual.
The length of time involved in dissolving a marriage varies depending upon whether or not the action is uncontested or contested. In an uncontested action where the parties enter into a settlement agreement, the Dissolution can normally be finalized within four to six weeks after the agreement is signed. However, considerable time may lapse in reaching the agreement, and as such, the overall process may last many months.
When one party does not respond to the Petition and a default is entered, the action is also considered to be uncontested. Upon obtaining, the Clerk’s default, a trial date can be requested. In this situation, the length of time for the divorce to be finalized depends on how long it will take for the Court to set a trial date. Under normal circumstances, the trial will be set within 90 days of the request, and the matter concluded shortly after the trial.
Can I have my child testify?
If your child is less than 18 years old, you need to have the permission from the Court for the child to testify in a family law case. Do not bring the child to the Courthouse until you are granted permission to let the child testify. Most Judges do not want children to testify in their parent’s divorce or custody actions. Almost never are children under the age of 12 allowed to testify. Occasionally, children 13 or older are allowed to testify if the child has information that is relevant and can not be presented through any other witness.
Most Judges frown upon bringing children into Court. Children typically love both parents and should not be ask to testify against a parent. Children who testify against a parent frequently feel guilty and are embarrassed by their parent’s behaviors. Often when a party request to have a child testify, it gives the impression that that party does not care about his child’s feelings. Thus, you should generally refrain from asking to have children testify.
Do you still have questions?
Your family law case is unique. I am here to answer your questions. Provide your contact information and questions and I will get back to you quickly.