How to File a Simple Divorce in Florida

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

How to File a Simple Divorce in Florida

By Cindy DeRuyter, J.D.

If you and your spouse decide to end your marriage and you meet the requirements for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Florida, you can get divorced quickly and inexpensively. Follow these steps to get a simplified divorce.

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1. Determine your eligibility for a simple divorce.

Not every couple qualifies for a simple divorce in Florida. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce. In addition, you cannot file for a simple divorce if you or your spouse has minor or dependent children or if one of you is currently pregnant.

The two of you must also agree on how to divide your assets and liabilities after the divorce, and neither of you can seek alimony from the other. Both spouses must sign the petition for a simple divorce, although you do not have to sign it at the same time. When you ask the court to grant a simple divorce, you agree to waive your right to litigate your divorce in court or to appeal the final order. Finally, both of you must be willing and able to attend the final hearing on your petition for a simple divorce.

2. Complete and file the petition.

If you meet the criteria for a simple divorce, contact the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the Florida county where you or your spouse live to request a "Simplified Dissolution Information" booklet. When you are ready to apply for your divorce, complete a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (Form 12.901(a)). Print or type your responses in black ink.

Make a copy of the completed application and file the original with the county Clerk of the Circuit Court.

3. Complete a marital settlement agreement.

You may, but are not required to, prepare and sign a Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (Form 12.902(f)(3)). Couples use this form to document their intentions and agreement about dividing their assets and debts. If you complete this form, file it with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Alternatively, you and your spouse can agree to asset and liability disposition orally.

4. File proof of residency.

Because Florida imposes residency requirements on people who petition for divorce, applicants must demonstrate residency to the court. The most common proofs of residency include a Florida driver's license, state-issued identification card, or voter registration card, if available, which you can show when filing the previously mentioned forms.

There are other methods of proving residency, including through sworn witness testimony or an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness (Form 12.902(i)).

5. Provide a cover sheet and pay fees.

Complete and file a Cover Sheet for Family Court Cases (Form 12.928) and pay the required filing fee.

If you and your spouse cannot afford the filing fee, you can complete another form, the Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status, and file it with the court. If the court approves your application, it may waive your filing fee.

6. Attend your court hearing.

After completing the necessary filing, the Clerk schedules a final court hearing on your petition, which both you and your spouse must attend. During this step, if the court approves your petition, you and the judge sign the Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (Form 12.900(a)).

Ending a marriage is a big life change. If you need a helping hand to guide you through the divorce process, turn to an online service provider or hire an attorney. Working with a legal service provider or a family law attorney licensed in your state can help you have peace of mind moving on with the next chapter of your life.

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.