What is the first step in getting a divorce in Florida?
You made the decision – it is time for a divorce. Now what?
Get a petitionThe first step in getting a divorce is to complete and file your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This document is the first step in getting a divorce. You can download a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage online at http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/family-law-forms.stml. Make sure to select the Petition that is for your particular situation.
1. If you and your ex-spouse-to-be have minor children in common or a child was born during the course of the marriage, you should complete the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren), form 12.901(b)(1).
2. If you and your ex-spouse-to-be have NO minor children, you should complete the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Dependent or Minor Child(ren), form 12.901(b)(2).
3. If you and your ex-spouse-to-be have NO Minor Children and NO property to be split or dealt with by the court, you should complete the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Dependent or Minor Child(ren), form 12.901(b)(3).
Complete the petitionAfter you complete the Petition, you will need to sign the form before a notary or a clerk of court (where you will file your case). Many banks provide notary services and even Amscot now provides notary services.
File the PetitionAfter the Petition is signed and notarized, it needs to be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court in the county where you live. Make sure you always keep a copy of any document you file with the court for your own records.
In order to file your Petition with the Clerk, you need to also pay the appropriate filing fees to the Clerk. Currently, in Florida, the filing fee is $397.50, plus $10.50 for a recording fee for your Final Judgment (required), and $10.00 for a summons fee so that your ex can be served (required unless your spouse agrees to sign a Waiver of Service). This is a total of $418.00.
If you cannot afford to pay the filing fees, you can request an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status from the Clerk, and file it with your petition for dissolution of marriage. The clerk will determine whether you are eligible to have filing fees waived.
The final piece is you must prove to the court that you have lived in Florida for more than 6 months before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. You can prove this by showing proof of your valid Florida driver*s license, Florida identification card, or voter registration card issued to you at least 6 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.
Once your petition is filed and your filing fees are paid, your first step to divorce is complete.