Perhaps you have heard the term “simple divorce” or “uncontested divorce” in conversation. There are a lot of misconceptions about divorce and how to go about getting divorced. In Florida, there are basically just two ways to end a marriage – by agreement or through litigation. Experienced Florida family law attorneys understand that every case is unique. Still, there are some basic questions you should ask early in the process to make sure you are not needlessly wasting money or setting yourself up for hardship later.
All Divorces are Filed in Court
Maybe the first thing to get out of the way is the common misconception that not all divorces “go to court.” In truth, only a judge can sign the official final order that grants a divorce in Florida. This order is often also referred to as a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This final judgment lays out the terms of the divorce and legally ends the marriage. How you get to that final document is what differentiates a contested from uncontested divorce. Some people are able to agree on it without much dispute, and others must go all the way to a trial on certain issues they cannot resolve on their own.
Settlement or Trial
Next, keep in mind that the majority of divorces never go to trial, but that does not mean they do not require litigation in court. Once the initial paperwork is filed, the parties often spend considerable time, effort and money fighting over property, children, alimony, child support and countless other issues. Eventually, most people are able to reach an agreement and reduce it to writing in order to finalize their divorce. Although it does not go to trial, it would be incorrect to call this an uncontested divorce. A settlement that is the result of drawn out litigation is still very much “contested.”
Uncontested and Collaborative Divorces
In Florida, as with many other states, people can choose to hire attorneys who are trained at working collaboratively to achieve a financially suitable alternative to litigation. Yes, the paperwork is still filed. Florida law requires a petition seeking the dissolution of marriage to still be filed. Once this is done, each person can sit down and work together to work out their differences, with the assistance of attorneys who are focused on resolution from the start, rather than focusing on gaining leverage or winning a trial. This sort of approach is almost always more cost-effective and less stressful. Benefits of an uncontested divorce tend to include:
- Cost savings
- Easier on the children
- Faster resolution
- Easier on the parties
- Less chance of an unexpected outcome
- Less surprises for family and friends
- More control over the process
- Better overall satisfaction with the divorce
- Better relationships after divorce
Because people tend to have less fighting and hard feelings after an uncontested divorce, these individuals are also less likely to wind up back in court later fighting over enforcement. This is largely because the outcome was based on a collaborative approach and an agreement. If you and your spouse are facing divorce and do not know where to start, give The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A. a call. Many of the fears about divorce can easily be calmed with a consultation. So call today.