Understand the two types of Florida divorce

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you probably know you have to separate from your spouse. However, most people are unsure what to do next to seek a legal divorce in Florida. 

Review the rules for filing for simplified or regular dissolution of marriage in Florida if you or your spouse has lived here for six months or longer. 

Simplified divorce

With this type of divorce, you and your spouse can waive the right to financial disclosure. You can seek a simplified dissolution of marriage in Florida if neither of you plans to ask for spousal support, you agree on how to divide shared assets and debts (if any), and you do not have unborn children or children younger than 18 together. 

Regular divorce

If you do not meet the guidelines above, either you or your spouse can ask for a regular divorce in the county where you live. You submit a petition that lists your preferred arrangement for child custody, property division and spousal support. When your spouse receives an official copy of your petition, he or she has 20 days to submit a petition in response. Within 45 days of your filing date, you and your spouse must give the court your complete financial records, including details about income, assets, expenses and debts. 

If you cannot agree with your spouse about the issues in your divorce, the judge may order you to go to mediation. In this situation, a professional mediator helps you negotiate with one another. If you still cannot come to a divorce agreement after the mediation session, the court will decide in a hearing.