Once you’ve decided to get a divorce, you probably want to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, divorces aren’t as simple as getting married!
Florida law has strict guidelines surrounding the divorce process, which will affect the amount of time it takes before you’re single again. In this article, we’ll help you answer the question, “How long does a divorce take in Florida?” so you can better know what to expect.
How Long Does a Divorce Take In Florida?
Divorces are a lot like families—no two are alike.
Depending on your unique circumstances, it may take anywhere from a month or a few years before your divorce is finalized. I know, this is not exactly encouraging news! However, knowing a bit about divorce law can help make the process easier.
The length of time it takes for you to get divorced will differ a great deal from someone else, even someone with the same amount of money and/or number of children as you.
How long your divorce will take depends a lot on the type of divorce you’re getting as well as several other factors.
Types of Divorce
Florida divorce law recognizes three different types of divorce: simplified divorce, uncontested divorce, and contested divorce.
Which of these categories you fall in will be a major determining factor in how long your divorce will take, so let’s examine them one by one.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Also known as a simplified divorce, a simplified dissolution of marriage is the quickest and simplest way to get a divorce in Florida, with results in as little as 30 days. However, it’s not an option for everyone.
To file for a simplified dissolution of marriage, you must meet certain requirements:
- You have no minor children together and are not pregnant
- You have agreed about how to split assets and liabilities
- Neither of you are seeking alimony
- At least one of you has lived in Florida for the last six months
- You agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and are willing to sign all necessary documents and attend the final hearing
In an uncontested divorce, both couples agree that the marriage cannot be saved and there is no argument over the issues in the case (such as alimony, child custody, and division of property).
However, uncontested divorces differ from simple divorces in one major respect.
Once minor children are involved in a divorce, Florida requires that the couple have a parenting plan, which lays out the guidelines for custody, visitation, child support, and other matters.
This parenting plan must be reviewed and approved by the court.
If the two of you cannot cannot come to an agreement regarding custody, finances, or even whether to get divorced, a contested divorce may be your only option.
Also known as a litigated divorce, a contested divorce typically takes the longest amount of time.
Florida law requires that all contested divorces have at least one mediation if you cannot reach a settlement agreement. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is feeling vindictive or is dragging their feet, this process may take months. The two of you may also have to appear before a Judge to make decisions you can’t make on your own.
Depending on how many disagreements you have (and how serious they are to you), hashing out your differences can take a long time.
Factors That Extend Your Divorce
We’d all prefer that divorce be measured in “months” rather than “years”. While some of this is out of your control, it can help to simply be prepared for the road ahead.
Complexity of Your Estate
Owning one or more businesses, having minor children, and owning lots of assets (such as real estate) will all complicate your divorce and make the process take longer. While some of this is due to disagreements, there may also be legal issues that create extra hurdles.
When two people cannot communicate well and are unable—or unwilling—to compromise, divorce will typically take longer.
In my experience, most disagreements boil down to three things: children, spousal support, and “stuff.” Finding ways to reach agreements faster can go a long way toward reducing your divorce time.
When faced with a divorce, many people feel they have to hire the most aggressive, “pit bull” lawyer possible. However, this often makes your divorce take longer. Many “hired gun” divorce lawyers take an approach that includes a lot of legal motions and hearings. While this can be a perfectly valid approach to some of your problems, it can also eat up time and money.
How To Expedite Your Divorce
Once you realize that your marriage is over, waiting for the final divorce decree can feel unending. Is there any way to speed things up?
Whether the two of you pursue a contested, uncontested, or simplified divorce, coming into the process with an attitude of cooperation will drastically reduce the amount of time your divorce will take.
By coming to an agreement on things like child custody, visitation, alimony, and division of debts and assets, you’ll make things easier for your family law attorney(s) and other experts who are working on your case.
Even if there are a few issues you can’t seem to agree on, mediation and divorce court will be much easier if both of you are committed to an amicable split.
Ultimately, however, it takes two to tango.
If your spouse is abusive, has a hostile personality, or simply wants to stall the proceedings, there is nothing you can do to make them be more cooperative. In these cases, having a good divorce lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Need a Compassionate Divorce Lawyer?
Divorce can be hard, but it’s a lot easier with a solid support system looking out for your best interests.
At Leap Frog Divorce, our clients’ peace of mind is our top priority, and we have the training and experience necessary to make your divorce as stress-free as possible. In addition to being experts in family law, we are also certified with advanced education in conflict resolution, making mediation, co-mediation, or uncontested divorce more successful.
Whether you are going through mediation, pursuing a collaborative divorce, or you need a tough representative, our team will do whatever we can to support you and your rights. We take the time to discuss every aspect of your case to ensure that no stone is left unturned and you get the guidance and help you deserve.
Call today for a free consultation.