Filling for divorce in Sarasota County may be quick and trouble-free if you understand all the stages of the process and follow them precisely. In fact, if both parties settle on a decision regarding property division, financial matters, custody, and other aspects of marriage dissolution, you won’t even need to hire a lawyer. In this case, you will be able to file for uncontested divorce in Sarasota County with fewer financial expenses and less time spent than on a contested case.
The simplified dissolution of marriage in Sarasota County can be finalized in less than 30 days. Note that you can only qualify for it if you have no minor children and won’t request spousal support.
To start a divorce process, you need to:
- Meet the residency requirements. You have to confirm that you have been a resident of Florida for at least 6 months. The documents accepted as proof by the court are a valid Florida driver’s license, a voter’s registration card, or Florida identification card. In case neither spouse has lived in Sarasota County, they can still file with the local court. As long as both parties agree to do it, it should not be an issue.
- Figure out where to file for divorce. Both contested and uncontested divorces are handled by Sarasota County Family Court. You are welcome to contact the local clerk to find out about the work hours, fees, and additional requirements you may have to meet.
- Prepare the needed documents. A petitioner, who is a spouse planning to file the paperwork, must get all the legal forms specific to their case, fill them out, and print them. It would be necessary to make 2 copies of each document for both spouses to keep as the originals are left in the court during the filing process.
- File the forms with the court clerk. Give all the necessary documents to the clerk and pay the filing fee. If you qualify for a simplified marriage dissolution, file the petition together as you will have to sign it in front of the clerk.
- Give copies of all documents to your spouse. A petitioner is obliged to serve all the forms filed with the clerk to their spouse. However, they cannot do it themselves, and have to use the services of a deputy sheriff or professional process server instead. Please note that you may need to pay for this service additionally. When the other spouse receives the documents, they must file a response. It is necessary to do it within 20 days after the documents were served.
- Attend the final hearing. After spouses complete all the required steps, court sets the final hearing date. It takes place no less than 20 days from the moment when all documents are submitted to the court.
In cases when the divorce is contested and spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding child rearing, asset division, and general financial matters, it is necessary to hire a lawyer. They will help you with the paperwork, give you the necessary legal advice, and act in the court on your behalf.
The uncontested divorce process may last, on average, for about 5 weeks. The contested divorce, however, lasts much longer and may take half a year or more depending on the case.
Sarasota County Family Court Forms
The number of Sarasota County divorce papers is case-specific and differs based on the type of marriage dissolution. For example, when it comes to the simplified dissolution of marriage, you will need around ten forms, which is less than half of what you may require for a regular divorce. You might also need to check which additional county-specific forms might be needed by contacting a local court clerk’s office.
A standard list of forms needed to file for divorce includes, but it not limited to:
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Sarasota County Summons forms
- Financial Affidavit
- Family Court Cover Sheet
- Notice of Social Security Number
- Certificate of Compliance with Mandatory Disclosure
- Final Judgement
If you have children, the mandatory list includes:
- Parenting Plan
- Child Support Guidelines Worksheet
- Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act
For the court to accept these papers, you must sign them in front of the notary or deputy clerk. If you’re struggling to determine which forms are required for your case, our online service can help you get an up-to-date set of documents needed for a full-agreement uncontested no-fault divorce. They will already be filled out and ready for you to file.
Sarasota County Divorce Filing Fee
The approximate Sarasota County court filing fees are $408. This is the sum of money paid for the court’s services when filing for divorce. It is important to clarify the exact sum with the clerk in advance as it may change, ask them what payment types are accepted, and determine whether there will be other court fees you’ll have to cover.
If a person cannot afford to pay a filing fee, they can apply for a Fee Waiver. There is a specific form called Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status, where it is necessary to indicate the information about overall salary, other sources of income, liabilities, and debts so that the court can decide whether you can get a relief.
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.