Yaffa Family Law Group
By: Doreen Yaffa

How long does it take to get divorced in Florida?


Divorce can be a stress-inducing process and we understand many people want it to be resolved as quickly as possible. However, depending on the type of divorce, there are multiple steps varying in complexity that each person needs to go through to complete it. The amount of time it takes to get divorced in Florida ultimately depends on a wide variety of factors including:

The type of divorce: Contested divorces will always take longer than uncontested divorces as it takes time to sort out the disagreements that the couple have.. Contested divorces likely involve mediation and court hearings, which can take months to complete.

How complex the financials: The more financial assets and liabilities that are being split, the longer it will likely take to decide how to divide them equitably. With high net worth individuals, it may take months to identify and cover every asset that they own when deciding how to distribute them. This can get especially complicated when real estate and businesses are involved which can ultimately come down to a court having to decide values and how to distribute them..

The courts: In a final hearing for contested cases, the judge and county that it’s taking place in have a large impact on how long it may take. Florida statutes must always be followed, but the court process may take longer in different counties depending on how large of a caseload the judge has and how each judge approaches his or her cases.

The will of both parties: The couple has the largest say in how long the divorce generally takes. If one of them feels like they are not getting a fair deal, they may choose to fight their spouse at every turn to get what they feel they deserve. If a couple wants the quickest divorce possible though, the best option is to set aside emotions and treat the issues like a business.

There are different types of divorces in Florida including simplified dissolution, uncontested dissolution, and contested dissolution.

Simplified Cases
Simplified dissolution is when the couple asks a court for a divorce together. This is a quick and efficient method for divorce and the couple must meet these requirements to qualify:
1. There must be no children that are minors from the marriage.
2. There must be no pregnancy at the time of filing.
3. Both parties may complete a “Financial Affidavit” and “property settlement agreement” no matter if property is owned or not.
4. Both parties must attend the final divorce hearing.

Uncontested Cases
This is typically one of the quickest types of divorce. An uncontested case is when both parties have zero or minor disagreements and are generally on the same page about how marital assets and liabilities will be split, as well as children related matters. They are in agreement on alimony payments, division of assets, parenting arrangements, the division of assets and liabilities, etc. Both parties are cooperative and all necessary documents are agreed to. These matters can be finalized in a few weeks or months depending on the court’s availability and related timing issues.

Contested Cases
This is the most common type of divorce in Florida. This type of divorce is when one party prepares their case then “serves” it to the other party. Most of the time, these cases are contested. The majority of initially contested cases are settled at a “halfway point” by both parties agreeing to terms in mediation or through settlement discussions and very few actually go all the way to a trial. These matters can take months to over a year or so depending on the complexity of the issues and the court’s available time to set the trial and or other matters.

In contested matters,you will need a highly experienced, litigation family lawyer. The process for contested cases is the longest and most complicated. High net worth individuals will need to hire the right attorney, who will likely hire other experts such as forensic accounts, real estate appraisers or vocational experts to assist with the matter and provide testimony in court. Issues that can arise include disagreement on the valuation of property, alimony payments, division of liabilities, one spouse avoiding being served, support for children and custody related issues, etc. The process for contested cases is the longest and most complicated. These time frames assume that the case goes to trial.

The overall average time it takes to get a divorce in Florida depends on the county but generally is 6-12 months, according to the team of our lawyers at Yaffa Family Law Group. There are countless factors that can affect how long a divorce takes. But the bottom line is: the amount of time a divorce may take varies case-to-case.

If you are considering getting a divorce, you may be asking yourself “What is the first step towards getting divorced in Florida?”

First, you will file a document called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage”, which lays out any claims you have for things like child custody, child support, division of property and debts, and alimony payments. After that is filed, a process server will typically serve the papers on the other party. This is called “service of process.” If there are children involved, Florida law requires both parties to attend a seminar on children and divorce.

Divorce can be overwhelming, and that’s why it’s important to have the right lawyers on your side. Yaffa Family Law Group is proud to have family attorneys experienced in every type of divorce case and we understand how to navigate the complexities high net worth individuals face with contested divorces. Our lawyers are dedicated to getting our clients everything that they deserve. Call (561)276-3880 to book a complimentary consultation today or visit our website at WWW.YaffaFamilyLawGroup.com.