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Is there a time limit for divorce papers to be in the court system with no action?

Land O Lakes, FL |

I filed divorce papers against my wife last April. She, of course, was difficult and contested. I have yet to agree to what she contested because she wants me to pay for her car, credit cards, etc., which I am NOT willing to pay for.

So my question is, I have heard that in the State of Florida if the divorce papers sit in the court system for a year, it becomes in the Petitioner's defense. Is this true?

I cannot afford an attorney - I can afford payment arrangements but I can't give someone any sort of retainer. Plus I have unfortunately just lost my job. I've also just had a baby with my now fiance. I want to get this done and over with!

Attorney Answers 2


  1. There is no statutory time limit as to when a divorce should be finalized. However, if there has been no activity in your case for, say, 6 months, the case will be sent up to the judge assigned to your case and you will be required to show up in court to explain the delay and why the case should be not be dismissed. You may want to consider asking the court to order you and your wife to mediation (most courts have Family Mediation that charges according to the income of the parties). This may break the "deadlock" that your case seems to be in.


  2. If there is no "record activity" for 12 months, the court can ask you to show cause as to why the case shouldn't be dismissed. Record activity means something filed in the court file that moves the case along. Ducle's suggestion of a Motion for Mediation is a good one and would be considered something that moves case.

    If mediation is not successful, your case needs to be set for a trial. As Petitioner, it will be your responsibility to prove your case.

    If you are struggling with how to proceed and don't have money for full representation, you can look for a divorce attorney who offers "unbundled" legal services to assist you in finishing the divorce.