Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

How To File for Divorce in Florida

Divorcing Spouses Sitting at a Table With a Mediator

The Florida divorce process is relatively simple if you and your spouse agree on all terms. It's also a lot simpler when there are no minor children involved. But, the parties rarely agree to everything. And many cases do include children. Before you file your petition for dissolution of marriage, you must understand how divorce law works in Florida.

Here, we'll offer an overview of the divorce process in Florida. This includes filing for divorce until the judge issues your final divorce decree.

Florida Divorce Process at a Glance

There's a reason getting through law school and passing the bar exam is so tough. The law is confusing. To help the non-lawyer residents of the Sunshine State understand the divorce process, we've provided the following plain English explanations of the law and resources to help you navigate the system like a pro.


Florida Statutes: Civil Practice and Procedure §61.001, et seq.

Requirements for a Simplified (Uncontested) Divorce

Florida has two types of divorce: a simplified dissolution of marriage and a regular dissolution of marriage.

You may file for a simplified dissolution of marriage by meeting the following requirements:

  1. There are no children under 18
  2. Neither spouse is pregnant
  3. At least one spouse has lived in Florida for six months
  4. There are no disagreements over the division of property and liabilities
  5. Neither party is seeking spousal support (alimony)
  6. Both spouses agree the marriage is irretrievably broken

How To File for a Simplified Divorce in Florida

  1. Prepare and file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in the county clerk's office where you or your spouse live. You must also pay filing fees unless you qualify for a fee waiver.
  2. Even if you and your spouse agree on the division of property and debts, you must put it in writing. The best way to do this is to file a Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.
  3. Attend a hearing before the court. The courts typically schedule this shortly after you file your petition. If you don't file a marital settlement agreement, the judge may hear your property and debt division agreement orally.
  4. If everything is in order, the judge will issue a final judgment, and your divorce will become final.

Florida Divorce: Court Forms and Documents

Note: This is a partial list of documents you must file for divorce. Visit the Florida State Court System's Self-Help Center for a complete list.

How To File for Divorce in Florida With a Child

If your case involves a minor child, you can't file for a simplified dissolution of marriage. You must file for a regular dissolution of marriage.

Filing for Regular Dissolution of Marriage in Florida

The steps below explain the process you will follow for a regular dissolution of marriage. You'll also follow this process for a contested divorce.

Prepare and File the Necessary Forms

You must file the appropriate dissolution of marriage forms in your county. You must ensure that you meet the residency requirements before doing this. Under Florida law, one spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months.

The initial document you will file is a "Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage." The spouse who files the petition is the "petitioner," and the other spouse is the "respondent." The petition should address the following issues:

  • Division of marital property and liabilities
  • Alimony (spousal support)
  • Custody of any minor or dependent children
  • Child support

Florida courts do not require parties to specify particular fault grounds for a divorce. But the judge may consider factors such as abandonment or abuse when deciding child custody and visitation if the behavior affects the child.

On the distribution of assets, the court must consider factors in the Florida Code. While fault is not a factor in equitable distribution, if one of the spouses wasted or depleted marital assets — during or in the two years leading up to the divorce — it could affect how marital property gets distributed.

Get your forms notarized before you file them with the court clerk. The clerk will give you a copy of your divorce papers after they stamp them with the filing date. Make an extra copy to serve on your spouse.

Serve the Forms on Your Spouse

To "serve" a court petition is to let the other party (your spouse) officially know about the proceedings. Your spouse or their attorney may accept service if they agree to the divorce. Acceptance and waiver of service prevent the need for the petitioner to have the documents served.

You have several options for serving the petition on your spouse. You can do this via the county sheriff or a professional process server. You can't mail or hand-deliver these forms to your spouse.

Provide Your Spouse With Financial Disclosures

Each party has a right to the other party's financial information. Within 45 days of service of the petition, each party must provide their spouse with a signed affidavit detailing their financial assets and liabilities. This document is a Family Law Financial Affidavit that describes each party's assets, debts, income, and expenses.

The financial affidavit concerns (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Income
  • Other assets
  • Tax returns
  • Debts
  • Bank and credit card statements
  • Investments, retirement accounts, etc.

If either spouse earns more than $50,000, they must file the long version of the Florida Family Law Financial Affidavit. You can use the short form of the affidavit if you earn less than $50,000.

Complete and File Other Child-Related Forms and Courses

If the judge schedules a child support hearing, complete and file the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet.

You must also file a completed Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) Affidavit. You must do this even if you and your spouse agree on custody.

Both parents of minor children must attend a co-parenting class before the court will finalize your divorce.

Settlement or Contested Final Hearing

If you and your spouse agree on the divorce terms, you'll sign a written agreement reflecting these terms. The law calls this agreement the "Marital Settlement Agreement." The agreement must include a parenting plan if you have children.

Parties can also present their agreement orally to the judge in a final hearing. But, the judge may require a trial if you can't agree to the terms in court. Some Florida counties require parties to attend mediation before proceeding to trial.

The judge will decide the remaining issues before issuing a final judgment.

How To File for Divorce in Florida Without an Attorney

Florida law can be confusing. The courts offer self-help resources for Florida residents who choose to represent themselves in their divorce.

But divorce is a complex legal process that has long-lasting effects. Your final divorce decree will affect your finances, children, and property. Consult first with a Florida divorce lawyer who can review your divorce agreement to ensure a fair outcome.

How To Find a Divorce Lawyer in Florida

Finding a lawyer to help with your divorce doesn't have to be difficult. You can ask friends or family for referrals or consult attorney directory listings to search for local attorneys in your area. FindLaw offers attorney directories, such as:

You don't have to hire a lawyer to represent you in your divorce. Some divorce lawyers offer limited-scope services and can help with specific tasks, such as reviewing your divorce agreement or attending a court hearing with you.

Research the Law

Florida Divorce Process: Related Resources

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information, please consult an attorney or conduct legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options