Often, we are asked what is the difference between a simplified dissolution of marriage versus a dissolution of marriage. The short answer is that a simplified dissolution of marriage is a less complicated procedure for obtaining a divorce for couples who meet certain requirements and are willing to waive certain rights.
Grounds: Both parties must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken (i.e., nothing can be done to save the marriage).
Residency: Under Florida Statute 61.021, a person must have resided in the state of Florida for at least six months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. The law only requires that one person reside in the state of Florida for six months. The residency of one of the parties must be proven at the final hearing. There are three ways to prove residency: a driver’s license issued at least six (6) months before the filing of the petition for simplified dissolution; by filing an affidavit of corroborating witness; or by the testimony of a person who knows the parties, knows that one of the parties has been a resident for six months, and is willing to testify.
Children: There are no minor or dependent children common to the parties, and the wife is not currently pregnant.
Support: Neither of the parties are seeking support (alimony) from the other party.
Agreement: The parties must be able to agree on how to divide the marital assets and marital liabilities. If one party disagrees as to how divide assets or liabilities, a simplified dissolution of marriage cannot be filed.
Final Hearing: Both parties are willing and able to attend a final hearing together.
Trial/Appeal: By filing for a simplified dissolution of marriage, the parties agree to give up the rights to a trial and to appeal. This means that whatever agreement the parties enter into and whatever happens at the final hearing is just that, final. The parties cannot appeal the process and there will be no trial to divide up the assets and liabilities.
If you and your spouse are able to agree on how you would like your assets and liabilities divided, are able to still effectively communicate, and meet the above-listed requirements, then a simplified dissolution of marriage might be the right choice for you. Since a simplified dissolution does away with most discovery requirements, you will most likely be able to schedule your final hearing within a month of filing.
Filing for a divorce, whether it be through the simplified process or the standard process, can be a difficult and emotional decision for the parties involved. It is best to speak to an attorney to make sure you understand all your rights under the law. For more information on the contents of this article or any other questions you may have about Florida’s simplified dissolution of marriage laws, please contact Zweben Law Group at 772-223-5454.