How Long Does a Divorce Take in Florida?
An uncontested divorce usually takes about 6-10 weeks after everything has been signed by both spouses and filed with the court. A contested divorce can take anywhere from 30 days to months or years, depending on if there is a trial or not.
The type of divorce is one of the most significant factors affecting its duration. In most cases, a simplified divorce turns out to be an easy procedure for spouses, as it does not take much time. As for a contested case, it tends to last much longer and requires more emotional and financial resources from both parties.
It is important to note that regardless of the preferred type of divorce, in order to initiate this legal process, one or both spouses must meet the residency requirements, meaning they must have resided in Florida for at least six months before the filing.
Florida Divorce Waiting Period
FL divorce laws establish a 20-day waiting period after filing for the divorce. It is intended for spouses to once again weigh all the pros and cons of ending a marriage, try to reconcile, and decide whether they really want to permanently dissolve their marriage.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?
The average time to get a divorce depends on the type of marriage dissolution and is as follows:
- Simplified divorce – 30 days;
- Uncontested divorce – up to 4 months (basically faster);
- Contested divorce – from 9 months and longer;
- Mediated divorce – 5 months on average.
Every couple filing for a divorce in Florida wants to go through all its stages in the simplest and fastest way. However, it is not always possible due to the factors that delay the consideration of the case and prevent a quick marriage dissolution. For example, spouses may disagree on the division of marital property or the issues with child custody. The court might need to hold additional hearings, involve experts, and listen to the testimony of witnesses. In such a case, the Florida divorce timeline can easily exceed one year.
Simplified Divorce Timeline
A simplified divorce takes about 30 days (excluding the time spent preparing the forms).
In order to initiate the simplified divorce in Florida, spouses should meet ALL of the following requirements:
- Agree to the simplified divorce;
- Meet the residency requirements (reside in the state for at least 6 months before filing with the court);
- Have no children together (and the wife should not be pregnant);
- Refuse alimony (waive further spousal support from the other party);
- Pre-arrange the division of marital property.
The simplified divorce begins with both spouses signing and filing a petition and related financial documents. After at least 20 days from that moment, the court will set a hearing date. If the parties correctly complete the forms and prepare the divorce agreement properly, the court will dissolve their marriage.
Contested Divorce Timeline
The contested divorce in Florida can easily take several years. As a rule, it is the most complex and lengthy process of marriage dissolution. It requires significant judicial intervention. The chronology of contested divorce usually includes the following steps:
- Filing the petition – the beginning of the divorce proceedings;
- Serving the spouse – 3 weeks;
- Serving of the defendant’s answer – up to 20 days;
- Financial disclosure– around 3 months;
- Mediation – around 5 months after the filing;
- Final hearing – approximately 5-6 months after starting the divorce case.
It is not uncommon for financial disclosures and testimony to be deliberately delayed. This is a kind of strategic defense tool that is used to harm the other party. By delaying the divorce process, your partner may be trying to increase your attorney fees, postpone child support payments, or simply hide their assets.
Uncontested Divorce Timeline
Getting an uncontested divorce in Florida usually takes 2-3 months. It is based on the willingness of the spouses to cooperate and achieve a mutually beneficial agreement. This is the best option for couples both in terms of costs and time spent.
To file for the uncontested divorce, the parties must agree on the fundamental issues of the divorce, such as the fair division of property, assets and debts, child custody, and spousal support. This process may take approximately 3 weeks. After filing for divorce, the waiting period for the final hearing begins, which does not exceed 3 months. Generally, uncontested cases are finalized within 4 months or faster.
How Long Does a Divorce with Children Take in Florida?
When the divorce process in Florida involves child-related matters, it can proceed in two ways:
- If the parties are able to reach an agreement regarding custody, child support, and parenting plans, they may file for an uncontested divorce. In this case, the entire procedure will take less than 4 months.
- If the spouses have significant disagreements on issues related to children, then they will have to take part in the contested dissolution of the marriage. Disputed divorce proceedings in Florida canlast from six months to several years, depending on the details of the case. For example, if one of the partners does not agree with the child support order suggested by the court, this will entail additional hearings, which may drag on for a couple of months. Moreover, there may be several such controversial issues in the case.
How Long Does It Take for a Divorce to Be Final?
The divorce is considered final after the court issues a divorce order at the final hearing. The final hearing in an uncontested divorce takes place approximately 6-8 weeks after the start of this legal process. In contested cases, it often takes 5-6 months for the final hearing to be scheduled. The final hearing itself can take as little as 15 minutes or last hours. Its duration depends on the number of issues to solve in the divorce case.
If parties wish to expedite the process of divorce in Florida and assure that the case ends quickly, they should pay attention to the following factors:
- ensure that the divorce documents are filled out correctly;
- work with the other spouse to reach a mutually beneficial agreement;
- check the compliance of the agreement reached with the legislation of a particular county;
- keep track of the workload of the court in which the case is being considered.
In order to get a fast divorce, it is important that the spouses can amicably settle the most significant issues regarding the division of property and child custody. Simplified and uncontested divorce procedures allow the partners to become free fairly quickly (1-4 months), while the contested divorce can drag them into years of litigation.
How to Get a Quick Divorce in Florida?
Many divorce cases in Florida have been pending for years, and this fact often deters spouses from ending their marriage. Why does divorce take so long? It is so because the partners fail to reach an agreement on the key matters of their case. They are forced to defend their rights in numerous court hearings, which is not only a lengthy but also quite costly and stressful process.
Often, the parties do not know the intricacies of the divorce process and may have difficulties already at the stage of completing divorce papers. It may take them much time to find the required and up-to-date forms needed for their case. Using our online service, you will greatly reduce the time spent on preparing divorce forms and avoid errors in filling them out. With the full set of forms required for your case, you will receive detailed instructions on how to file them with the court.
We have created a system that helps you get all the necessary paperwork without a struggle. With an online divorce, all you need to pay is $139, irrespective of the number of forms needed for your case. Our questionnaire is designed to be simple and straightforward, even for those who do not have any legal background.
Michelle Walton is known as the divorce expert and content writer for flonlinedivorce.com. She is a regular contributor to Men’s Journal, and her articles about property division and child support custody can be seen on various divorce blogs. Michelle’s background in psychology and family law and her own experience with divorce make her equipped to write about various divorce-related topics professionally.