03 Aug What Happens at an Uncontested Divorce Hearing in Florida?
The divorce process is rarely a convenient one, but it can be made much easier when both spouses are on the same page about a few critical issues. When both spouses have reached a mutual agreement about time-sharing, parental responsibility, child support, child custody, alimony, property division and other vital matters, an uncontested divorce is possible. Going through this type of divorce will allow both spouses to move on with their lives while saving them tons of stress, time and money inside of the court system.
If you are ready to enter an uncontested divorce in Florida, it can be useful to know the steps required. In order to show the courts that you and your spouse are in agreement on the important issues listed above, you will need to have a notarized settlement agreement that addresses the issues the two parties have agreed upon. Additionally, you will need a proposed Parenting Plan, which is a separate settlement agreement that meets the needs of the children in the marriage. Finally, you will need proof that both spouses attended a court approve parenting course and understand what they will be getting into after the uncontested divorce.
A divorce petition is still required in the Florida uncontested divorce process, but a Respondent is not required to be served by a process server. If the respondent “waives service of process”, it also ends up costing the couple less, as the Petitioner will not have to pay the court to issue a summons nor a process server to effect service. In an uncontested divorce hearing many steps happen at once, as parties can have their papers prepared, signed in front of a notary, and then file every document (including the petition and settlement agreement) with the court all at the same time.
While there are certainly fewer hearings you will be required to attend during an uncontested divorce, there are still a few you might be required to attend. Every uncontested divorce will have a final hearing that takes place in front of a Judge. In most cases, only the petitioner will be required to attend. Thankfully, the final hearings are extremely brief since the details have been worked out beforehand. In fact, some are known to only last a matter of minutes. Either the judge or the attorney will present a few questions to you:
- Is the marriage inevitably broken? (Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state.)
- Was the Settlement Agreement and/or Parenting Plan signed voluntarily by both parties?
- Have you resided in Florida for the last six months prior to this trial?
Answering all of these questions correctly, and being prepared for them, will help ensure that this final hearing goes smoothly. Consulting with your attorney about these questions can help you feel confident that you are meeting all state requirements to finalizing your uncontested divorce. Also, you will need to bring a form of state-issued identification along with you, such as a driver’s license or passport.
If all of the papers have been prepared correctly, the proper people are in attendance, and all required items are brought to this hearing, the finalization of your uncontested divorce should go smoothly. Preparedness is the key to navigating this process without frustrating and unfortunate hiccups. Since you and your spouse will already be in a mutually beneficial state of cooperation, being prepared should pose no real issue. However, heading the advice of your trusted and experienced family law attorney will help ensure that your divorce is finalized in a cost-effective and timely manner. It is time for you to move on with your life, so never cut corners when finalizing your uncontested divorce.