What is an uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce divides and defines the marital assets and obligations; if needed, establishes support and parental duties but eliminates the trial process as your agreement will be elevated to a court decree upon final approval by the court. A true uncontested divorce resolved “all” the dissolution matters, such as: equitable distribution of property (the division of assets and liabilities), alimony, child support, and parenting plan. If you have talked about “all” these issues and know what each other want, you might be able to file an uncontested divorce. However, where both parties are not open to communication or unwilling to agree you will need to file a contested matter. In some cases, you may agree on some, but not all issues related to your divorce, and you might want to seek a pre-filing negotiation or collaborative divorce, where both parties meet with a trained collaborative and experienced attorney to negotiate privately and come to an agreement prior to filing. In such cases we may be able to keep medium and high asset divorces confidential and get an order to seal the file before filing. However, a collaborative divorce must have both parties’ participation and consent prior to engaging in a collaborative divorce.
How do I get started? Just set up your first phone consultation on the “contact us” page. The consultation fee is $125.00 and goes toward your attorney time if you decide to hire us. The first step to a consultation is easy, just pick the day and time that is most convenient for you and pay the consultation fee. You will be contacted by the attorney at your chosen day and time.
I am not sure if my spouse will sign the documents, can I make her or him? This can sometimes be a nerve-racking process because there is no way to tell if a spouse will actually sign your divorce documents. However, if there is a possibility that your spouse is in agreement with your proposed divorce, you could save yourself and your spouse a lot of headaches and money. Unfortunately, you cannot “make” your spouse sign the divorce documents and send them back. If this is the case, and you find that your spouse is reluctant to sign your divorce, you can change your case from an uncontested to a contested matter. To change from an uncontested to contested divorce, please call our office.
If there is no guarantee that my spouse will sign the documents, why should I try an uncontested divorce first? An uncontested divorce will have a minimal financial impact and your financial well-being. In an uncontested divorce your emotional recovery time is significantly less not to mention a significant costs savings. If there is a possibility of saving $8,000.00-$12,000.00 or more in litigation costs, an uncontested divorce might be a good place to start.
My spouse agrees to the divorce but disagrees on property division or child related matters, can we still do an uncontested divorce? No. Unfortunately, to have a truly uncontested divorce, you must be in agreement on all issues, including divorce, property division, spousal support, child support, parenting plan and time-sharing, and all other matters. This type of divorce may only occur where both parties agree that divorce is the best option for your marriage and both parties are open to communication and are amicable.
What if my spouse and I are close to a resolution but we need a little help getting to an agreement? In this case, I would suggest filing a contested matter and setting up a mediation. You can always try an uncontested first, then move to a contested matter at an additional fee. In some cases, if the documents need to be tweaked or modified to accommodate an agreement, this can be done at an additional hourly rate. Our office also handles contested and litigation matters at our attorney hourly rate.
Do I have to go to a court hearing? In most cases, no. Most counties in Florida now have a process where an attorney can include an affidavit that takes the place of a final hearing. However, there are some courts that still require you to appear at a final hearing (just depends on the particular judge your case is assigned). In those cases, they are now usually over Zoom or video conference any only last about 5-10 minutes. If you are located out of town, we can even file a motion for you to appear by phone or electronic means.
Can I file in Florida if I moved out of Florida? Maybe. Only one party is required to have resided in Florida for at least 6 months prior to the filing date of your divorce. This is the only jurisdictional requirement that cannot be waived.
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