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Divorce Process In Florida

The divorce process in Florida can be as simple or as complex as you make it to be. The Florida divorce begins when one person in a marriage wants a divorce.

That person initiates the legal divorce process by filing a motion to dissolve the marriage with family court in their county of residence.

The other person doesn't have to agree or even be aware that this motion is being filed.

Legally, the person that files the motion is known as the Petitioner and the other person is known as the Respondent.

Although the person filing the motion to dissolve the marriage doesn't need to permission of the other person, once the motion is filed with the courts, the other person must be served notice.

So while the other party doesn't need permission to file or even make the other person aware of the intent to file, once a Florida divorce has been filed, the other person must be made aware of the intent to dissolve the marriage.

The person that files cannot serve the other person. This must be done by a third party.

There are two ways to file a motion to dissolve the marriage:

1. Go to the family law court house in your county, obtain the form, complete the form, and file it yourself. Use a third party, such as a process server service to serve the other party. Generally this option will cost about $300.

2. Hire an attorney to write the motion and file it for you. Generally this option will require a $3,500 retainer fee and cost about $800 or more.

Filing a motion is the first step. The divorce process in Florida concludes with the signing of a Judgement and Decree (known as a J&D). The J&D is the contract that dictates the terms of your post divorce life. It address issues like:

All these issues are clearly address in the judgement and decree, which is a legally binding document. Often there are penalties for not following the judgement and decree, so it is important that you're able to live by the terms.

No matter what, you're divorce process in Florida will begin with the filing of a motion to dissolve the marriage and end with the signing of a Judgement and Decree. How that Judgement and Decree is written and the terms within it are the focus of your divorce.

There are essentially two ways to create a Judgement and Decree:

1. Agree to the terms with your wife. This can be done up front without argument, through mediation, through your respective lawyers, or after a long court process. This is the cheaper option, but costs can run up quickly if you're not careful. Unless you know what you're doing, you could end up with a bad deal.

2. If you and your wife can't agree on the terms of the Judgement and Decree, you'll end up in court and a judge will listen to both arguments and issue a binding Judgement and Decree for you. This will be expensive. This is not the way you want to go.

The fact is that the terms of your Judgement and Decree will determine how you live the rest of your life. How your Judgement and Decree is written is critical.

It's okay to have a lawyer write it, but you should never rely solely on a lawyers advice to write the best Judgement and Decree for you.

The sad truth is that many lawyers simply don't care enough to cover every detail. You need to do your own research.

Fortunately divorce expert Matt O'Connell has written an easy to understand guide to help you through the divorce process in Florida. It explains what should be in your Judgement and Decree.

We highly recommend you review his guide before you agree to sign your Judgement and Decree. You'll be glad you did. To read about it, Click Here.