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What's the difference between simplified and regular dissolution?

In Florida, you have the option of obtaining a divorce (technically called "marital dissolution") in one of two ways: through the regular process or through simplified proceedings.

As its name implies, the simplified process is a little less complex. Regular divorces often involve cross-examining the other spouse and demanding full financial disclosure in regard to assets, debts, income and expenses. In a simplified dissolution, on the other hand, you are not required to provide this information.

Why choose simplified dissolution?

In addition to being easier and minimizing stress, the simplified process can potentially save you money. In general, legal costs tend to be less if you do much of the work yourself (i.e., coming to an agreement with your spouse ahead of time about all important issues).

Is every couple eligible for the simplified process?

No, not every couple qualifies. According to the Florida Bar, you and your spouse can only get a simplified divorce if all of the following apply:

  • You both agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
  • You both agree to use the simplified process.
  • You have no dependent children (such as those under age 18 or those with special needs).
  • You or your spouse is not currently pregnant.
  • One of you has lived in the state for at least six months.
  • You both agree on how to divide your marital property and debts.
  • Neither of you is requesting alimony.

If you use the simplified procedure for your uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will still need to appear before a judge to have the divorce finalized. Overall, however, it can streamline the proceedings and make your life a little easier.

To learn more about whether you qualify - or for help navigating the process - talk with a lawyer experienced in Florida's marital dissolution laws.

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