How long do I have to live in Florida to file for divorce?

You must live in Florida for 6 continuous months before being eligible to file for divorce in Florida.

What types of divorce are available?

Typically there are (2) types of divorces, uncontested and contested. When the parties agree on all issues they can typically resolve the marriage in a quick, easy and relatively inexpensive manner by simply filing an uncontested divorce. Conversely, if the parties cannot agree on all issues, then they must litigate these issues.

Can I file for divorce in Florida if I am not a Florida resident?

Yes, typically you can file for divorce in Florida if either you or your spouse resides in Florida for the required 6 month period prior to filing.

How much does it cost to file for divorce?

Each county may be slightly different, you can expect to pay between $400-500 for the filing fees, summons and process server.

I have been served divorce papers, now what?

It is very important to contact an attorney immediately. Typically you have 20 days to respond to the “complaint”, otherwise you risk “defaulting” and possibly irreparably harming your case. There are a lot of good attorneys who will work out a decent payment plan, so don’t just assume you cannot afford one. Also, you may be able to qualify for legal aid if you are in-fact indigent.

Can I represent myself?

Divorce is incredibly complicated and I would highly recommend against self-representation. During the divorce process issues regarding the distribution of assets and debts, alimony and child support are often the centerpiece of the litigation. Therefore, if you are not represented by competent counsel you can suffer irreparable harm. Attorney’s fees can be expensive, but a bad result based on not being represented can be exponentially worse.

What is the typical time-line of a divorce case?

  • A case is filed and the summons is served to the other party
  • The other party has 20 days from date of service to respond
  • Either party may file for temporary relief and have a hearing with a judge or a magistrate
  • Both parties are obligated to disclose their financial information to the other in a process called “discovery”
  • All family law cases must go to a court ordered mediation
  • If mediation fails, then a judge ultimately decides all contested issues
  • This process can take anywhere from 6-12 months

Can I move during the divorce process?

BE VERY CAREFUL with this issue. You can move within 50 mile radius of your current address. You can move outside of your 50 mile radius with either the Court’s permission or your spouse’s written permission. DO NOT move outside of your 50 mile radius, otherwise you will be in contempt of Court and can be ordered to return the children to the other parent immediately.

My spouse and I have agreed on Child Support is that ok?

Unfortunately child support is determined by computing a number of factors such as salary, number of overnights, cost for insurance coverage, after school care, etc. Furthermore, child support is technically the child’s and therefore the parents have no authority to negotiate the child support on their own.

I don’t believe that the child is mine biologically, am I stuck?

Not necessarily. Depending on the facts you may be able to disestablish paternity.  This is a complicated issue and should be discussed in greater detail with a qualified attorney.

I cannot find my spouse, how can I serve them the divorce complaint?

If you cannot locate your spouse you will be able to proceed by either substitute or constructive service.

Is it true that Courts favor the mother in child custody matters?

Not necessarily. In my years of practice I have noticed a strong trend to more equal timesharing. The general belief is that is usually in the best interest of the child to have both parents equally involved in the child’s life.

Will I be entitled to alimony?

Determining whether one party is entitled to alimony depends on many factors such as length of marriage, historic salaries of the parties, age and earning capabilities of the parties, etc.

Beckus Law Firm
7545 Centurion Parkway
Suite #105

Jacksonville, Florida
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