1. Do I have to hire an attorney to get a divorce in Florida?
No, you are not required to have an attorney to obtain a divorce in Florida. However, if your case involves children, alimony, significant property, or debts, you should at least consult with a lawyer before deciding whether to proceed on your own. You may have certain rights and obligations about which you are unaware. If your divorce doesn't involve any of these issues, it is still advisable to consult with an attorney to discuss the best way to proceed. A person who proceeds in a legal matter without a lawyer is referred to as being pro se (pronounced pro-say), meaning "on one's own." Most of the forms you will need to proceed pro se are available online at www.flcourts.org at no cost to you.
2. What is the first step in getting a divorce?
If you decide to consult with the Law Offices of Lisa P. Kirby, call to schedule an appointment. Even if you are not ready to file for divorce, but you think your spouse might be, call to schedule an appointment right away to obtain information about protecting yourself and your children. The more information you have, the better prepared you are if your spouse does file for divorce.
3. Is Florida a no-fault state or do I need grounds for a divorce?
Florida, like most states, is a no-fault divorce state. This means that neither you nor your spouse is required to prove that the other is "at fault" in order to be granted a divorce. Factors such as infidelity, domestic violence, or abandonment are not necessary to receive a divorce in Florida. Rather, it is only necessary to prove that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" to have it dissolved. The testimony of either you or your spouse that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" is sufficient evidence for the court to rule that the marriage should be dissolved. The judge will not ask for information regarding the nature of the problems that led to the divorce or whether any type of reconciliation efforts were made.
4. How long will it take to get my divorce?
The more you and your spouse are in agreement, the faster your divorce will conclude. If all issues, such as parenting plans/time-sharing, support, property, and debts are completely settled between you and your spouse, a final hearing can be held after the twenty-one-day waiting period.
If your case proceeds to trial, the process can take up to a year or longer for your divorce to be final.