What Happens During a Divorce Hearing in Florida?

By Cindy Chung

A divorce can feel like a lengthy or intimidating process, especially if spouses have a contested case that requires court proceedings. When spouses cannot agree on the legal issues of their divorce, they may have several hearings at a Florida circuit court or need to participate in a divorce trial. What happens during a divorce hearing or trial depends on the stage of the case and each party's requests to the court.

Contesting Legal Issues

When one spouse files for a divorce, known as a dissolution of marriage in Florida, the other spouse may file an answer and counter-petition. A Florida circuit court will often require several court hearings when spouses cannot agree on the terms of their divorce and there are contested differences between the petition and answer or counter-petition. During a divorce hearing or trial, the court typically gives each spouse an opportunity to present witnesses and evidence as well as cross-examine the other party's witnesses. However, if both spouses agree to the divorce and qualify for a simplified dissolution, the court hearing often does not require testimony from witnesses or discussion of evidence presented by either party. Instead, a simplified dissolution allows the spouses to agree on a divorce based on their own terms.

Obtaining Temporary Orders

Spouses can file requests for temporary court orders during a pending divorce case. For example, a spouse might request financial support through temporary alimony or child support. A spouse may also request a temporary injunction against the other party's conduct during a pending divorce — for example, a parent may want to prevent the other spouse from taking the child to another state or out of the country. If either parent files a petition or motion for a temporary order, the court may need to hold a hearing to make a decision on the issue

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Receiving Referrals to Mediation and Settlement Services

In a circuit court hearing during a contested divorce, the judge may suggest or order both spouses to participate in mediation services. In some Florida counties, mediation is a requirement. If spouses can successfully settle the terms of their divorce in mediation, they can return to court for a hearing and ask the judge to approve their agreement. However, if the spouses do not reach an agreement, the court must set a future date for a divorce trial to discuss contested issues.

Finalizing the Divorce

Spouses are not legally divorced until a Florida circuit court issues the final judgment for a dissolution of marriage. A final judgment includes court orders regarding a division of the spouses' assets and debts, alimony, parental rights and other legal issues related to the divorce. In a final hearing or during a divorce trial, the judge may tell the parties about the terms of the court orders the judge plans to issue. If the spouses negotiated their own divorce settlement for the judge's approval, the judge may use the hearing to discuss parts of the settlement agreement. Once the divorce is final, former spouses may need to return to court for additional hearings. This typically occurs when a spouse starts an appeal or requests a modification of the divorce judgment.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Do I File for Divorce in Oregon?
 

References

Resources

Related articles

Divorce Rules in Florida

An understanding of the grounds for divorce in Florida and the factors a judge looks at in dividing property and awarding support can help couples better prepare for the marriage dissolution process. Although one party need not be deemed at fault in the marriage, it must be demonstrated to the court that the relationship is irrevocably broken.

Does the Plaintiff Have to Show Up in a Divorce?

State laws regarding divorce often differ significantly. Further, rules on who must attend hearings vary based on the nature of the individual case. In some jurisdictions, the plaintiff, or party who is filing for divorce, does not need to attend the final hearing provided the couple agrees on the terms of the divorce. In other states, the plaintiff must attend but not his or her spouse. In some cases, both spouses must attend the final hearing.

Divorce Laws in California

A divorce, or dissolution, formally ends a marriage or legal partnership. Division 6 of the California Family Code sets out the laws relating to divorce in the state. Before filing for divorce in California, at least one of the parties must be resident in the state for at least six months and one spouse a resident of the county where the divorce petition is being filed for three months. The procedure for divorce varies according to whether the couple have children or property together.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

90 Day Cooling Off Period for a Divorce in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania requires a 90-day "cooling off" period for no-fault or "mutual consent" divorces, which provides an ...

How to Get an Expedited Divorce

A couple may have reasons to seek a speedy and efficient divorce. For instance, a spouse might prefer to avoid ...

What to Expect at a Pretrial for Divorce in Michigan

A judge uses a pretrial conference to review the status of your divorce case and plan out the next steps for your ...

Reasons Why a Divorce Can Be Postponed in Texas

The minimum waiting period for an uncontested divorce in Texas is 60 days after filing the petition. However, most ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED