Once you are ready to end your marriage, you need to begin the legal process of divorce, which is a dissolution of marriage in Florida.
The Florida Bar explains you have two choices, but the common one is a regular dissolution of marriage. The steps in the process begin with filing your petition.
Your petition is the court document where you explain what you want to the court. You will include information about your marriage and your finances. You must also provide your spouse with a copy of this paperwork.
Your spouse may file an answer to your petition within 20 days of receiving the documents. Your financial disclosure is due to the court within 45 days. If you do not provide the required paperwork, the court can dismiss your petition.
You may go through mediation prior to going to court. This process enables you and your spouse to reach agreements on the various points of your divorce, such as property division and child custody.
If you can reach a settlement on some or all of the points, you will draft a formal settlement. You and your spouse must both agree to the terms. You will provide this settlement to the court. A judge must sign the agreement for it to be valid.
If you cannot reach a settlement, you will have a hearing where the judge will make decisions in your case. The court follows state law when making such decisions, but he or she also has some discretion to make decisions based on the information you and your spouse provide.
Once the court makes a final ruling or signs the settlement, your divorce is final.