How to File a Simple Divorce in Florida

by Beverly Bird

    Florida is one of a few states that allows you to bypass an expensive, time-consuming divorce process if you and your spouse meet certain criteria. Most important, you must have an agreement between you as to how you’re going to divide your property and debts; you cannot have any children and both you and your spouse must waive alimony and your right to appeal any part of your divorce agreement. If you meet these requirements, you can file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage and be divorced, usually in less than a month.

    Step 1

    Prepare a marital settlement agreement explaining to the court how you and your spouse are going to resolve financial issues between you. Use Florida family law form 12.902(f)(3), which you can access from the state’s website. You and your spouse must complete the form jointly, and both of you must sign it. There’s no need for each of you to submit a separate form of your own.

    Step 2

    Access form 12.902(b) or form 12.902(c) from the state’s website. These are financial affidavits listing your income, assets and debts. You and your spouse must each file one of your own; this isn't a joint form. Form 12.902(b) is applicable if you, individually, earn less than $50,000 per year. Use Form 12.902(c) if you earn more than that.

    Step 3

    Complete Florida family law form 12.902(j), also available from the state’s website, confirming your Social Security number. You and your spouse each need to complete one of these forms.

    Step 4

    Take your completed forms to the family court in the county where either you or your spouse reside. You and your spouse must appear at the court clerk’s office together. Take a photo ID with you. Ask the clerk for a form for a simplified dissolution of marriage. Complete the form with both of your signatures and file it with the clerk along with all the other required forms you’ve prepared.

    Step 5

    Either you or your spouse must substantiate that you’ve been a resident of Florida for at least six months to file for any divorce in Florida. If you use your Florida driver’s license as your photo ID, the court clerk will accept this as proof, as long as it is at least six months old. You can also take a witness with you when you appear in court for your final divorce hearing; the witness can testify that you’ve lived in Florida for the required time. If your witness doesn’t want to appear in court, she can complete form 12.902(i) and have it notarized, attesting that you’ve met Florida’s residency requirement.

    Tips & Warnings

    • After you’ve filed your petition and the accompanying documents, the court will notify you with a date for your divorce hearing. You and your spouse must attend this hearing together. It will be a minimum of 20 days, because Florida imposes this waiting period to make sure neither you nor your spouse change your mind about waiving your right to appeal or about the terms of your agreement. Depending on the court’s scheduling, you can be divorced relatively soon after the 20 days have passed.

    About the Author

    Beverly Bird has been writing professionally since 1983. She is the author of several novels including the bestselling "Comes the Rain" and "With Every Breath." Bird also has extensive experience as a paralegal, primarily in the areas of divorce and family law, bankruptcy and estate law. She covers many legal topics in her articles.

    Photo Credits

    • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images