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Can my husband legally conest our divorce after already signing papers, with NO property/kids, & a permanent restraining order?

Gainesville, FL |

We signed papers together when we separated over a year ago, but I was unable to file for $ reasons. When I filed, I was instructed to ammend the title from simplified to regular divorce (per the clerk instruction) because he went to prison for most of this year. According to the clerk, we would both have to appear in court for a simplified divorce and since he is in prison, there is no way he can appear...prolonging things further. This is why they altered my title and instructed I have him served, giving him chance to contest. He was served with papers this week, and I am unsure if he has waived his rights or contested yet. But since we have no children/assets, a permanent restraining order, & he's signed before - can he legally contest it? If so or even if not, how long will it take?

Attorney Answers 3


The party served a divorce summons has 20 days from the date of service to respond by filing an Answer with the Clerk of Court. If your husband does not respond, it is possible you may be able to obtain a default judgment and Final Dissolution of Marriage incorporating the agreement signed by you and your husband. If he does respond and does not agree to incorporate the agreement, the court will review the agreement and make a determination as to whether it will be binding.

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You have previously posted this, but the answer is yes he can legally contest it. He has 20 days to respond to the petition after he was served with the divorce papers. If you think it is uncontested, you can attempt to send a proposed marital settlement agreement to him to sign, but I would recommend you having an attorney do this.

You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation since every case is different and not all information is relayed in an online question. The Law Office of Ophelia Bernal-Mora, P.A. is a family & criminal law firm located in Orlando, Florida, we invite you to contact us and welcome your calls at 407-377-6828. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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Yes, he can contest it after he has been served. What I recommend is that if you have a fully executed Marital Settlement Agreement already, that you file it with the clerk's office. If there are no defects with it, and it was properly executed, then he won't get very far with contesting the divorce. It is very hard to overturn a Marital Settlement Agreement that is properly signed, dated, witnessed, notarized and initialized. Florida law is very clear on that subject. Also, if his legal argument is "I changed my mind since we signed that agreement", then he is probably not going to get far at all with challenging the legal validity of that agreement. I recommend that you hire an attorney immediately in your area to help you. Good luck!

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Luckily, we have already filled this out. It was part of the papers that we signed together over a year ago. He's signed all of his forms as to his income, assets, debts, and the Marital Settlement Agreement has been signed and notarized as well. The only thing I need him to do is sign the Answer and Waiver form, since with the original type of divorce I tried to file would require him to be in court and he cannot appear as he is in prison. The only reason I ammended the title at the clerk's instruction, was to give him an opportunity to waive his rights in coming to court. He's already signed EVERYTHING else, including a Marital Settlement agreement :)

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