How to File for Divorce for Free in Florida

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

How to File for Divorce for Free in Florida

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

Getting a divorce costs money. However, not having enough money should not prevent you from ending your marriage. If you qualify for a divorce in Florida and meet certain qualifications required for civil indigent status, you may be able to do so with few out-of-pocket expenses.

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Before beginning the process, you'll want to understand what is required of you, and what exact fees are associated with it. When you're ready, follow these steps.

1. Determine whether you qualify to file for and obtain a divorce in Florida.

Before taking next steps, make sure you meet the state's qualification requirements. In general, you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before you begin the process.

If you meet the following requirements, then you may be able to file for a simplified divorce:

  • Do not have any dependent children together
  • Have agreed upon how to divide your assets and liabilities
  • Neither party is seeking alimony from the other

This process is usually relatively quick and easy compared to contested divorce matters or those involving minor or other dependent children. If you qualify for Florida's Simplified Dissolution of Marriage process, you may not even need an attorney to represent you.

2. Complete and file a petition for dissolution.

A couple begins by filing a petition with the county court. If you qualify for the simplified process, complete a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (Form 12.901(a)). Read the form carefully and provide all required information. Type your responses or print them in black ink. Both you and your spouse need to sign the form before filing it with the clerk of the circuit court in your county.

3. File an application to have your fees waived.

Each Florida county publishes fee schedules for filing petitions and other documents. The Florida state legislature sets these fees every year. For example, as of December 2018, the fee for filing a petition for divorce in Miami-Dade County is $409. The spouse initiating the filing must also pay an additional $10 summons fee.

If you and your spouse cannot afford to pay these fees, you can apply for civil indigent status in Florida. Complete and file the Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status along with your petition with the county circuit court clerk.

4. Attend all required court hearings.

The court may schedule a hearing before approving or denying your fee waiver request. Attend all scheduled hearings and provide additional information requested by the court.

In most cases, if you qualify for civil indigent status, you must pay a $25 administrative fee. If the court denies your request, you must pay the original filing fee and summons fee to the clerk of courts to continue processing your petition for dissolution.

If you plan on filing for an uncontested divorce in Florida, you can follow these steps. So long as you abide by the state rules and regulations, you will have no issue with completing the process. But keep in mind that you generally cannot obtain a divorce for free, as there are some applicable fees.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.