How To File For Divorce In Florida


The divorce process is stressful enough as is; however, it becomes even more complicated when you realize that every state has its own requirements and processes. In the state of Florida, you have to be living in the state for a set period of time before you can file for divorce.

How else is Florida different? The experienced Tampa divorce lawyers of Quinn & Lynch, P.A., explain step-by-step how to file for divorce in Florida, breaking down complex legal terms along the way.

Meet Florida Residency Requirements for Divorce

Either you or your spouse must reside in Florida for at least six months before you can legally file for divorce. Residency is established by providing evidence that you have lived in Florida for the past 6 months and intended to make Florida your primary residence during that time. Simply visiting or owning a vacation home is not enough to file for divorce in the state.

Simplified or Regular Dissolution of Marriage

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

A Simplified Dissolution of Marriage is when both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage, and the following things are true:

  • You have no children or adopted children under the age of 18.
  • Neither you nor your spouse is pregnant.
  • You and your spouse are not seeking alimony.
  • You and your spouse agree on splitting all assets and liabilities.
  • Both you and your spouse agree the marriage is irreparable.

You and your spouse can go to the courthouse together or individually with your affairs separated and sign the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage document with the county clerk. This form must be notarized – most courthouses have a notary present who can sign for a small fee.

It is important to note that in a simplified dissolution of marriage, a couple can only divide inanimate things, such as property or cars. The couple forfeits the right to a trial and appeal when filing this way.

To complete a simplified dissolution of marriage, you and your spouse must agree to attend a final hearing before a judge to sign the final divorce decree.

Regular Dissolution of Marriage

A Regular Dissolution of Marriage is for cases in which:

  • Neither spouse agrees on how assets should be split.
  • You and your spouse have children under 18 together and need to resolve issues of custody and child support.

In a regular dissolution of marriage case, you would serve the divorce papers to your spouse, a process described below. 

Organize & File Your Divorce Paperwork

To file for divorce in Florida, you will need to gather the necessary affidavits. An affidavit is a written statement that lays out the facts of your case and can be used as evidence in court.

There are three affidavits that must be filed along with the dissolution of marriage paperwork for a divorce in Florida:

  • Social Security Affidavit: Both parties must provide their social security numbers for each party to subpoena financial and employment records without intervention by the court.
  • Non-military / Military Affidavit: This identifies whether the respondent is in the military or armed forces. For more information, see our blog on military divorce
  • Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit: This is used in all cases involving children under 18. This form must be completed even if custody, time-sharing, or visitation are not a factor in the dispute.

Serve the Divorce Papers

Filing for a regular dissolution of marriage requires you (the petitioner) to serve your spouse (the respondent). If your spouse is not served correctly, your case could be dismissed, and you’ll have to start over.

The divorce papers must be served to the respondent via a private process service (a courier service that only handles legal documents such as warrants or subpoenas) or sheriff (depending on whether the county provides this service). The respondent is then responsible for filing paperwork of their own.

If you can’t locate your spouse to serve them the divorce papers, you will have to do what is called “constructive service.” This involves placing an ad in the local newspaper stating your spouse is being served. The ad will run for 30 days, and there is typically a fee associated with this service. A county clerk can assist you if need be.

Document Your Finances

In addition to the affidavits listed above, a financial affidavit must be completed within 45 days of service. You can get the financial affidavit form from your circuit clerk’s office. Regardless of whether you and your spouse share property, the following assets and liabilities will need to be provided:

  • Income Statement
  • Tax returns
  • List of assets, such as real estate holdings
  • Stocks and bonds
  • List of debts
  • Credit card statements
  • Bank statements
  • Personal financial statements
  • Any other relevant financial documents the court or your spouse should know about before the divorce.

Another piece of financial documentation you will want to create is an average monthly household expenditures list. This will help the court determine child support payments, as well as whether either spouse needs alimony from the other.

Organizing all of this paperwork can be overwhelming, so it’s important to remember your mental health when you’re filing for divorce.

Seeing a therapist has many benefits and can provide you with the tools you need to work through your stress.

To learn more about how to file for divorce in Florida, call (813) 223-7739 to speak with an experienced Tampa family law attorney or request a consultation online.


Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.