How do I Start a Divorce Case?

In the state of Florida, marriage is officially recognized as a legal relationship. “Divorce” is the common term used for the legal term “Dissolution of Marriage.” This means that in order to divorce one’s partner their marriage can only be terminated by a Court Order.

According to the Dissolution of Marriage Law, which was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 1971, fault does not need to be proven in order for a spouse to seek out a dissolution of their marriage. This “no fault” law seeks to allow both parties to end their marriage on peaceful terms in a private manner.

A divorce can be either contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which parties do not have an agreement on all issues, such as property, children and other assets. A uncontested divorce in one in which both parties agree on all issues.

In order to start a divorce case the husband or wife must file a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The petition states what the filing party seeks from the divorce such as property, money, children, etc. The Petition is then filed and “served” to the other party. The party who has been “served” with the Petition for divorce must then file an “answer” within a time period of 20 days. Failure to “answer” to the Petition risks allowing the serving party to get everything they have requested for in their Petition by “default.” It is important that once you are served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that you seek legal assistance from a divorce attorney immediately to avoid this “default”.

If you have recently been served a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, or ready to start filing for divorce contact Hardesty, Tyde, Green, & Ashton today or call us at 904-398-2212 to schedule a consultation with one of our veteran Jacksonville divorce attorneys.

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