How to File for Divorce in Florida Without an Attorney

A standard divorce process can be intricate, lengthy, and emotionally challenging.

You may be questioning if enduring all this is necessary for your divorce. Moreover, financial difficulties might make hiring a lawyer seem unaffordable.

The good news is that you can file for divorce in Florida without an attorney, thanks to a legal option called Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

While you have the option to use a lawyer, it’s likely you won’t need one.

An Image of a Divorce Decree
How to File for Divorce in Florida Without an Attorney. Photo Source (Freepik)

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

A “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage” is a type of uncontested divorce, simplified further to expedite the process.

If you don’t meet the criteria for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you may still qualify for a standard uncontested divorce, which, although taking more time than the simplified version, remains quicker and easier than a contested divorce.

Conditions for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage include:

  1. Mutual agreement on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
  2. Full agreement on all divorce terms.
  3. No minor children (under 18) and no dependent children, even if legally adults.
  4. The wife is not pregnant.
  5. Neither party is seeking alimony.
  6. At least one spouse has resided in Florida for the past six months.
  7. Both parties waive the right to trial and appeal.

This process is most effective when there are minimal assets to divide, as both parties must agree on property division.

The more property involved, the higher the likelihood of disputes, which can extend to both assets and debts.

Procedure

Download the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage form from the state website, and complete it, but refrain from signing until consulting with a family lawyer for any clarifications.

Both spouses must sign the form at the court clerk’s office, and the signatures need notarization.

Signatures can be done on separate days.

Keep a copy of the signed form.

A Marital Settlement Agreement, available on the same page, is optional but recommended for documenting property division agreements publicly.

Prove Florida residency with a driver’s license, state-issued ID, affidavit, or third-party testimony.

Pay a $409 filing fee unless eligible for a waiver.

Submit a Family Court Cover Sheet, and attend a hearing in front of a judge with your spouse.

If all criteria are met, and agreements are in place, the court can grant a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in approximately 30 days.

You May or May Not Need a Florida Family Law Attorney To Help With Your Divorce

A do-it-yourself divorce usually suits well when there are no children or the children are adults, and neither party has significant assets or debts.

If you determine the need for legal help, it’s advisable to engage a lawyer sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

You can get a divorce in Florida without a lawyer using a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

It’s a simpler process, but you need to meet certain conditions like agreeing on the divorce and not having minor kids.

If these conditions aren’t met, a regular uncontested divorce is still quicker than a contested one.

You fill out forms, prove residency, pay a fee, and attend a hearing.

It’s good for simple cases, but if it gets complicated, getting a family law attorney early on is a good idea.

Further Reading!