The main difference
between the two processes is that in the simplified dissolution process,
both parties must appear at the final hearing. If one or the
other is unable or unwilling to appear at the final hearing, then a
simplified dissolution is the wrong choice. Our members offer document
preparation services for either the simplified process or the regular petition for dissolution of
marriage with no property and no children.
Divorce - with children
Some of the biggest decisions arise when there are children. Florida has several different processes for dissolution of marriage, depending on the couple's specific circumstances. If there are no children, and no property to divide, the couple may be able to use Florida's simplified process. However, for some, the "simplified" process is more complicated than using a regular petition for dissolution of marriage.
The needs of the children should always be held highest when a couple divorces. However, all too often, children are hurt the most. Florida requires both parents to complete a four hour parenting class. Even though, each parent may be an excellent parent, there are new skills and considerations when parents are no longer together.
divorcing couple has children in common, issues about child support and
child visitation need to be settled. As a matter of public policy courts must uphold the best interests of the child. Florida courts have a strong bias towards awarding shared parental responsibility, so that children have access to both parents.
Division of Assets & Debt
Florida is what is known as an "equitable distribution" state.
Equitable does not mean exactly equal, it means fair. Most property acquired
during a marriage is considered "marital property" and, needs to be
equitably divided at the time of a divorce.
Some couples want or need a Marital Settlement Agreement to
settle and memorialize how their debts property are to be divided. A marital
settlement agreement is usually signed by both parties, and once the
divorce is final it becomes part of the final order.
If a divorcing couple has amicably divided their property prior
to filing for divorce, then they may not need a Marital Settlement
Agreement at all.
Our members also prepare the documents to establish legal paternity. The central document for this process is called a Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief. This process is similar to a divorce with children. It is like a divorce, but for a separating couple who were never married and have a child together. Its especially important for unwed fathers, because when parents are unwed custody and parental rights go automatically to the mother unless this court process is completed. The result of filing a Petition to Determine Paternity and Related Relief is that the biological father is named the legal father and awarded paternal rights to the child. And at that point the father is able to set up a Parenting Plan so that he can have regular timesharing with his children.
All divorcing parents and separating couples who have children are required to take the four hour Parental Education and Family Stabilization Course. Learn more about the Parenting Course on this site.
Or go directly to the course we endorse and register for My Florida Parenting Course right now. My Florida Parenting Course is an online course approved by the Department of Children and Families. The cost is $29.99 with an indigent/ low income discount which reduces the cost to only $14.99. Parents are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible during the divorce process.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the low income discount also applies to people who have been furloughed or lost their job due to the pandemic. No need to furnish a court order proving indigent status.
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