In order to dissolve a marriage in the state of Florida, a petition must be filed with the Circuit Court in the county you last lived together. Either person in the marriage may file the petition, but the allegation must be that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In this petition, the petitioner outlines what they would like from the court. The person receiving the petition must respond within twenty days of being served and either address the initial petition or include a counter-petition. In the counter-petition, the court may address any additional issues brought forward by the answering party.
In Florida, the court requires that both parties must provide certain financial documents and completed financial affidavits to the other within forty-five days of the service of the petition. Failure to do this may lead to the court dismissing the case. During this stage of the divorce process, if either party is requesting child support, a child support guidelines worksheet must be filed with the court.
When an agreement on property, parental responsibility, and other post-divorce arrangements are met, it is finalized in writing by both parties and presented to the court. Uncontested cases ask the court to incorporate their settlement in the final judgment. If an agreement is not easily met, a trial is required for each party to present their case. Because the couple cannot come to an agreement, the judge is the deciding party on contested issues. If both parties can come to an agreement, they are more likely to be happy with the outcome.