The “Uncontested Divorce” in Florida
The term “uncontested divorce” has legal meaning in the state of Florida. Uncontested divorce refers to a planned divorce that has all legal issues resolved prior to court.
The agreement to divorce
Both parties must want a divorce in order for a divorce to be determined “uncontested.” There is a long list of other things that must also be agreed upon before the parties can proceed with an uncontested divorce. These include:
- The division of assets;
- The division of debts;
- The determination of alimony (or not);
- Child support;
In order for an uncontested divorce to proceed, the parties must agree on the division of all the assets. This can include savings accounts, stocks, property, retirement accounts, and furniture. Each and every thing the couple owns needs to be identified and assigned an owner.
Similarly, in an uncontested divorce, all debts need to be both identified and divided. These debts include the mortgage on the home, the charge cards, student loan debts, and outstanding bills.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be awarded in a divorce. In determining alimony, the two questions to be answered are first, does one spouse need alimony; and second, can the other spouse afford to pay alimony. In an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree on whether and how much alimony will be paid.
If there are children of the marriage, child support needs to be determined and agreed upon in an uncontested divorce. Florida statute states that child support is a “fundamental obligation” of each parent. Child support is based in a series of Florida guidelines, based on the combined net income of the parents. The guidelines are designed for the “fair and efficient settlement” of child support issues.
In addition to child support, parenting time needs to be agreed upon in an uncontested divorce. Parenting time may be a simple 50/50 split. Or it may be more detailed, including a determination of which parent has custody of the child on each holiday. There’s no “right way” to determine visitation but it must be agreed upon ahead of time.
Why do I need an attorney if we agree on everything?
Even if you and your spouse agree on everything, a family law attorney is still a good idea. This is because divorce is a legal proceeding, which necessarily comes with legal requirements. A family law attorney familiar with Florida law will be able to produce the necessary documents in the proper format. These documents include a proper parenting plan, financial accountings consistent with the law, and pleadings.
What will an attorney do for me in an uncontested divorce?
First, your uncontested divorce attorney will review your agreements to ensure that all necessary aspects required by law have been met. Next, your attorney will review your situation to make certain that your interests are protected. Your attorney will also make sure your agreements with your soon to be spouse are consistent with the law. Once your attorney is assured that every issue has been addressed, the paperwork for an uncontested divorce will be filed.
Let Us Help You With Your Case
If you are considering a divorce, contact Fort Lauderdale attorney Sandra Bonfiglio to schedule a consultation. You can discuss your options and consider what will work best for you and your family.