Whether you’ve decided on divorce or are considering it, you have to learn about your options. While the stereotype of a divorce is a drawn-out, messy affair, that isn’t always necessary.
Uncontested divorce or simplified divorce are options for some couples. Spouses can usually finalize either type of divorce in a couple of months.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?
There are two broad types of divorce: contested vs. uncontested. A contested divorce doesn’t mean you disagree about ending your marriage.
Instead, it means the two of you disagree on important issues, like dividing shared property, alimony, or child custody.
Meanwhile, in an uncontested divorce, you both agree on the terms and don’t need the court to resolve any critical issues. Anyone can go through an uncontested divorce, but it’s a bit more common for couples who don’t share valuable property or children.
An Uncontested Divorce: How Long Does It Take?
One of the benefits of an uncontested divorce is that it doesn’t take as long as an adversarial process. Unfortunately, people often draw out contested divorces into many hard months or years.
An uncontested divorce can take as few as four to six weeks. Florida requires you to wait at least 20 days from the date you file to get a divorce. It’s common for it to take longer than 20 days, though, because you have to wait for the final court hearing, which depends on a busy court schedule.
A local divorce attorney can give you better insight into how long an uncontested divorce will take depending on what’s going on with your local court system.
Simplified Divorce in Florida
Florida has a regular divorce process, which can be contested or uncontested, and a simplified dissolution of marriage. You have to be eligible to go through this process, which you can do without an attorney.
Eligibility for a simplified divorce requires:
- You share no minor children, and neither spouse is currently pregnant;
- You and your spouse have decided how to divide your shared assets and debts;
- Neither you nor your spouse is asking for alimony;
- Both you and your spouse are OK giving up your right to a trial and appeal;
- You and your spouse will go to the clerk’s office to sign the divorce petition (together or separately); and
- You and your spouse will go to a final divorce hearing at the same time.
Even if you’re eligible for a simplified divorce, consider consulting a lawyer. There may be rules you didn’t know or factors you didn’t think about.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a FL Uncontested Divorce?
It’s possible to go through a divorce without a lawyer, but we recommend hiring a Pensacola divorce lawyer to make sure you know your rights and get the best outcome from the divorce process.
Even if there’s nothing big to argue over, how you write down the divorce agreement is important and can impact your future.
Another factor is the court process. Have either you or your spouse navigated the court system before? You may not want to figure it all out on your own.
Instead, a divorce lawyer knows what to do, where, and when, which makes an emotional and difficult process a little bit easier.
There’s also a more important issue: Do you and your spouse really agree on everything?
Sometimes, there isn’t much to divide. It’s easy to agree when all you’re doing is splitting up furniture. But if you and your spouse have valuable assets, like a home or cars, or have a lot of debt, then you should think long and hard about a fair outcome.
Or if your spouse made a considerable amount more than you during the marriage, it might be fair to consider bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, or permanent alimony.
You don’t have to agree with whatever your spouse suggests. You have the right to demand an equitable outcome to your divorce, even if that means going through a contested process that takes a little more time.
Also, if your spouse has physically, emotionally, or financially abused you during the marriage, we strongly suggest you hire a lawyer to protect your interests.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take? Ask Our Lawyers
Our Pensacola divorce lawyers at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon are ready to talk with you about divorce. Contact us online or call 850-433-6581 to set up a consultation. We want to help you reach the best possible outcome.