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How long do I have to give the Dissolution of Marriage paperwork to my spouse for an uncontested divorce after I notarize it?

Miami, FL |

I am the petitioner and filing for the dissolution of marriage where me and my spouse will have a written agreement, there are NO minor children common to both parties, and there is debt from my spouse. My question is how long do I have to give the paperwork to my spouse after I notarize my part? and does he have a time limit to fill and notarize his part?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

If you are filing a simplified dissolution and nothing has been filed, it is whenever you decide to respectively execute the document. If you are not filing for simplified dissolution and you file, he must be served and will have 20 days to respond to your petition.

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Posted

Since the case hasn't been filed yet, there are no time limits with the exception that if you wait awhile the paperwork may get stale. Depending on the Court's preference, you might be asked to redo the paperwork again. If you are concerned that he is delaying things, you can file and have him served the papers and he will have 20 days to respond.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

what is the process of serving him? and can I just go to the court to get the paperwork or do I need a lawyer for that?

Carmen Carla Barcinas Demapan

Carmen Carla Barcinas Demapan

Posted

You would have to file your papers with the Court along with a summons. Once the summons has been issued, you will have to hire a process server to get your spouse served the paperwork. A reputable company I work with is Metro Process Service and they can be reached at 305-374-7387.

Posted

Ms. Demapan and Ms. Gerber are correctly pointing out that until a law suit is filed there are no time requirements, either for you or for your spouse. You can wait forever, and so can he. The only time there is a time requirement is when the case starts--you have 120 days to have your spouse served process, and then he will have 20 days from the date of service of process to make a response. The only other automatic time requirement that I can think of is that within 45 days from the date of service that you exchange documents [See Rule 12.285 Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure]...oh, and another--if there is no case activity for 10 months then the case could be subject to dismissal. So, those are the major "automatic" time requirements once the case is filed. Until then, there is no clock ticking.

I hope you found this response to be helpful. If so, your clicking "helpful" and/or "best answer" helps my Avvo rating and would be appreciated. This answer shall not be considered rendering legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. Avvo is a wonderful resource but nothing can substitute for an in-depth consultation face-to-face with a lawyer. The response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.

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4 comments

Asker

Posted

but when I got the paperwork package in the court, they said I did not need to serve him, as we are both in agreement. Should I be thinking in getting a different package so I get the paperwork signed after 20 days?

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Posted

It sounds to me as though the paperwork you refer to was a packet obtained from a Self-Help Center at the courthouse. There IS a form of divorce called a simplified divorce where both parties are petitioners. I discourage people from going that route, as it puts too much power in the hands of the other spouse, as you are finding out. Even worse, both of you would have to show up for the final hearing, so the other spouse can gum up the works by just now showing up. I suggest you remove the uncertainty by filing for a divorce that does not require his joinder. OR, I could be misreading your question entirely and it may be that the paperwork you are discussing is a Marital Settlement Agreement. Either way, you should consult with an attorney to review the status of your situation.

Asker

Posted

Yes it was a packet obtained from a Self-Help Center at the courthouse. I told them that my spouse is not in the country and we want to file for divorce as we are both in agreement. But they never told me that we both have to be present for the final hearing. He will not be in the country for the final hearing. What happens if he is unable to go? Would this delay things?. Would you recommend to go back and change or buy another package where I actually serve him, where he would have 20 days to respond and where he doesn't have to be present for the final hearing?

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Jeffrey B. Lampert

Posted

It depends on the packet you already purchased. It might still work if it has a Marital Settlement Agreement for the two of you to sign and a Petition where only you sign and an Answer for him to file. If he files an Answer to the Petition after it is filed then you do not even have to serve him; his Answer will suffice. Would have to be notarized, obviously. But if the packet calls for both of you to sign the Petition, that will not work for your purposes. You do not want to share control of the progress of the case. You can complete the Marital Settlement Agreement with him, then file the case attaching a copy of the agreement to the Petition, send him the Petition once it has been filed so that he can see what the allegations are, and if he agrees with the allegations he can file his Answer. If he doesn't file his Answer, then have him served with process and his 20 days to respond kicks in. If he doesn't sign the agreement, then file your petition as a contested case, have him served, and handle it. You should consider having an attorney to provide the legal road map for you. It is difficult and almost impossible for attorneys on Avvo to provide accurate responses when they do not have the paperwork/information before them. Even if you wind up having to pay for a consultation, it will be worth it in terms of not wasting time and getting the result you desire, and getting it done properly.

Posted

If you have not filed your case yet, there is generally no timeline, but you should have him sign as soon as possible to avoid incurring further marital liabilities. Generally, you and your spouse are jointly liable for debt either of you incur from the date of marriage until the date of filing the petition for divorce. If you already filed a divorce case, the court imposes deadlines on you to file papers. Usually, as the petitioner, you have 120 days after filing to have the other party served with the papers. If you do not do so, your case may be dismissed. Best of luck to you.

An attorney-client relationship shall not be formed due to the response to the asked questions. The suggestions made are intended to inform and not advise and are based upon general statements of PA or FL laws as applicable and specific events or facts may alter the law. You should contact an experienced PA or FL family law attorney (as applicable) for specific legal advice regarding your issue.

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Posted

You cannot notarize your own signature. There is no set time limit here but it should all be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time.

R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.

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