Do I Have to go to Court?
Divorce without Court in Jacksonville
If you're planning on filing for divorce, you may be wondering if you're going to have to go to court. In order to file divorce in Duval County, one of you must have lived in Florida for six months prior to petitioning for divorce. You can demonstrate that you have met this requirement by showing a valid driver's license, a voter's registration card, or a state identification card that was issued 6 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.
There are two broad categories of divorce: uncontested divorces and contested divorces. An uncontested divorce is one where the parties work together to achieve an agreement on all the issues pertaining to the divorce, whereas a contested divorce is one where the parties litigate and leave the decision-making to the judge.
There are two types of uncontested divorce cases in Florida: standard and simplified. With each uncontested divorce case, either spouse can initiate and file the divorce; this spouse is called the petitioner and the petitioner must allege that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."
While many uncontested divorce cases are categorized as "standard" cases, other cases fit into the "simplified" category. With a simplified divorce, neither spouse is seeking alimony from the other, and the spouses don't have any minor or dependent children together and the wife is not pregnant.
In Florida, a hearing to finalize your uncontested divorce will be scheduled by the clerk at the earliest possible date depending on the court's schedule. There is a mandatory twenty-day waiting period before a hearing to finalize your case can be held in the state of Florida.
If you filed a simplified divorce, then you and your spouse MUST appear before the court on the scheduled final hearing date. If you filed a regular Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, then only one of you will be required to appear at the final hearing. In a contested divorce proceeding, both parties MUST attend the final hearing or trial.
Contact a Board Certified Divorce Attorney
At Charles E. Willmott, P.A., I am a Board Certified lawyer with nearly 25 years of experience filing uncontested and contested divorces in Duval County.
I am BV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and was elected as chairman of the Jacksonville Bar Family Law Section from 2003 to 2010. For divorce help, contact me today!