In this episode, A.J. Grossman discusses what it truly means to get an uncontested divorce here in the state of Florida.
So what do you need to know about uncontested divorce? All right, let’s start with defining it.
An uncontested divorce basically means that you and your spouse have come to an agreement on all the issues in your divorce. So if you’re parents, you’ve agreed on how you’re going to co-parent your children after you’re divorced, you’ve agreed to how you’re going to split up the things that you own your assets and the things that you owe your debts or liabilities. You’ve also agreed on whether there will be any alimony in your situation or financial support to the other one, you’ve also come to an agreement regarding what child support is going to be. And basically, there are no issues left to agree on, you settled everything. That will qualify for an uncontested divorce.
So what that means is, that you don’t have to go in front of a judge to have a judge make a decision about how your divorce is going to be settled. You’ve done that already. So really, it’s a streamlined process, which does vary from county to county. But for the most part, it’s a streamlined process where you should be able to get divorced within maybe three months, we do have a mandatory waiting period in Florida of 20 days.
An uncontested divorce should not cost as much as a contested divorce. Costs will vary depending upon whether you decide to hire a lawyer, or whether you decide to go to a mediator or a document preparation service, whoever you’re going to use to help you with your uncontested divorce. It will also depend upon whether you have children or not. And the reason for that is because Florida requires what’s called a parenting plan. It’s a document that specifies what the visitation agreement is for your children and the custody agreement. And so it takes a little bit more time it takes some extra work to prepare a parenting plan so that uncontested divorce with children is likely going to cost more than an uncontested divorce without children.
Will you have to appear in front of a judge? There are some counties that require spouses to make an appearance in front of a judge in order to get that final judgment. And then there are other counties that don’t require that you can simply mail in your divorce paperwork packet to the judge, and the judge will review it and sign it and enter the final judgment. So it’s really going to depend on the county.
Can you do it yourself without hiring a lawyer or without hiring a mediator? Yes, you can. All of the forms are available online. You can find them for free. If you don’t want to try and find them you could go to the clerk of courts at your local courthouse. They may or may not have a packet of those forms available for a nominal fee. Maybe $20 or $25. And some of our courthouses have what I’ll call self-help centers where they’re staffed with lawyers that you can pay to review your paperwork or answer your questions or give you advice.
So can you do it? Yes. Would I recommend that you do it? Not in all circumstances.
There are some situations where it’s probably perfectly okay for somebody to try and do their own uncontested divorce. But there are other situations where I would not recommend it, like when one or both of you have pensions, retirement accounts, like 401K’s or 403B’s, if you have IRAs, if you have investments, if you own a business, if you own multiple properties, those are not situations where I would ever recommend that somebody do a DIY uncontested divorce.
I think at the bare minimum, you should invest some time and a little bit of money to consult with a lawyer, who does this work day in and day out. I’ve been helping people divorce in Florida for over a decade now. And that’s all I do. I don’t do bankruptcy. I don’t do immigration. I don’t do personal injury. All I do is divorce work. And that’s all I’ve done for over a decade. And so spending a little bit of money and spending some time to come to somebody like me to ask all your questions can be incredibly valuable.
So I hope you found this video helpful and valuable. If so, please consider liking it, and please consider subscribing to my channel. I’m releasing new videos all the time. I’m A.J. Grossman with Leap Frog Divorce. Have a wonderful day and be well.