Are you and your spouse in agreement on how to divide your assets and debts? Do you not have any minor or dependent children in common? Are you both willing to attend a final hearing for dissolution of marriage together? Then you and your spouse may qualify for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.
Advantages of a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Florida has created a special type of divorce procedure with the hope of simplifying the process. In most actions for dissolution of marriage, court rules require you to exchange what is known as “mandatory disclosure.” These are financial and other documents with sensitive and private information. So, in most divorces, you would exchange several years’ worth of tax returns, along with checking and savings account statements, credit card statements, and summary plan descriptions for retirement accounts.
In Simplified Dissolution of Marriage proceedings, you are not expected to exchange these documents unless specifically requested to by one of the spouses.
Further, in almost all divorce proceedings, the law requires you both to file and exchange financial affidavits. A financial affidavit is a form that lists your income, expenses, assets, and debts. Once you complete the financial affidavit, you generally file it with the clerk of the court, and it then becomes public record.
In a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you do not fill out, exchange, or file a financial affidavit.
Finally, many types of divorce can take many months or even years to complete. On the other hand, Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.105(b) directs that a “court shall consider [a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage] expeditiously.” It still may take a couple of months before being able to get a final hearing date in front of a judge, but that is still much quicker than most divorces.
Requirements of a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Not every divorce qualifies for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Here are the general requirements:
- You and your spouse do not have any minor or dependent children together;
- Neither of you gave birth to any children during the marriage who are minor or dependent;
- You or your spouse are not currently pregnant;
- You and your spouse have agreed or can agree on how property and debts will be divided;
- Neither you or your spouse are seeking alimony from the other; and
- Both you and your spouse are willing to appear at an uncontested final hearing together.
Other Divorce Options
Even if you and your spouse do not qualify for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, we can guide you through other options. For example, can discuss with you the options of uncontested divorce, collaborative divorce, as well as mediation.
Whatever your decision, we can help you and your spouse move on with your lives as quickly, cost-effectively, peacefully, and privately as possible.
Adam B. Cordover is a collaborative attorney and mediator who specializes in helping families resolve disputes peacefully, privately, and outside of court.