Most people in Florida who decide to get married intend to live the rest of their lives with their spouses. But unfortunately, divorce is the final result for about half the marriages in the country. When the possibility of divorce becomes a reality, individuals who understand the process will experience less stress and likely find it easier to move forward with life after marriage.
Family law statutes require one party to a marriage to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to initiate the divorce process. The court refers to the spouse that files the paperwork as the petitioner. The spouse receiving notice of a pending divorce action is the respondent. Petitioners should mention everything they wish the court to address when filing the petition. Possible subjects include asset division, alimony, child custody and child support.
Filing the petition
Petitioners need to file their paperwork with the county clerk’s office in their county of residence. The clerk will date stamp the petition and provide the petitioners with multiple copies. Petitioners should keep at least one copy for themselves and designate a copy for their spouse.
Discovery is a critical part of the divorce process. Discovery requires both parties to disclose information relevant to a divorce. Information submitted during the discovery process may include:
- Proof of income
- Tax return
- Bank account statements
- Credit card statements
- Statements for other accounts
Some couples opt for mediation at this stage of the process. Both spouses and their legal representatives meet with a court-appointed arbitrator to discuss possible solutions before a divorce court becomes necessary.
An appearance before a court becomes necessary if mediation attempts do not solve the problem. Both sides of a divorce dispute will have a chance to explain their positions to the court. Participants should come to court prepared to prove their arguments. They should also have any witnesses to their claims join them when possible. It is important to behave accordingly throughout the process despite the stress of the divorce process.
Ending a marital union is sometimes necessary but never an easy thing to do. Individuals considering terminating a marriage may enjoy better results if they involve a lawyer at the beginning of the process.