What Is the Waiting Period for Divorce in Miami?

Understanding Florida's Mandatory Waiting Period in Divorce Proceedings

In the Sunshine State, there is a mandatory waiting period for all divorces. This period is typically 20 days from the date the divorce petition was filed. However, the length of the overall divorce process can vary widely depending on factors such as whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, the court's schedule, and the case's complexity.

While 20 days is the minimum, the process often extends beyond this due to negotiations and preparations. The wait can be a time of uncertainty, but remember, you are not alone.

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, we are dedicated to helping you navigate this process with as much clarity and support as possible. Reach out to us today for experienced advice and guidance. We will stand with you, every step of the way, to ensure your interests are well protected during this crucial period.

Speak to an experienced family law attorney today by calling 305-520-7874.

Waiting Period for Divorce in Miami

In Florida, including Miami, the law stipulates a mandatory waiting period for divorce. This period is designed to provide spouses with ample time to reconsider the decision to divorce, potentially reconcile, and make necessary arrangements.

Mandatory Waiting Period

The Florida Statutes Section 61.021 establishes a mandatory waiting period of 20 days from the filing date of the divorce petition. This means that a court cannot grant a divorce until 20 days have elapsed since the petition was filed. This waiting period is amongst the shortest in the U.S., making Florida an appealing state for those seeking a swift divorce.

Factors Influencing the Waiting Period

While 20 days is the statutory minimum, the actual duration of the divorce process in Miami can vary greatly. Uncontested divorces, where both parties agree on all matters of the divorce, can conclude shortly after this waiting period.

In contrast, contested divorces, where parties cannot reach an agreement on one or several issues, can take significantly longer. The need for financial disclosure requests, mediation, or a divorce trial can extend the process by months or even years.

High conflict cases, such as those involving accusations of domestic violence, complex property division, or disagreements over child custody, often result in the longest waiting periods. Additionally, the court's calendar and the responsiveness of the other party to requests and orders can influence the length of the divorce process.

It is important to remember that every divorce case is unique, and the exact length of the waiting period may vary.

Uncontested Divorce Vs. Contested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a streamlined process wherein both spouses agree on all issues related to the divorce. This includes division of assets and liabilities, alimony, child custody, and child support. The entire process, from filing to final hearing, can be completed within a month, although the 20-day waiting period still applies.

In contrast, a contested divorce is when there are unresolved issues between the spouses. These cases require more court involvement and often involve negotiations, mediation, or even a divorce trial. As a result, the timeline for a contested divorce in Florida can stretch from months to more than a year.

Remember, regardless of the nature of your divorce, an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process, reducing stress and ensuring that your rights are protected.

Florida Divorce Process Step by Step

  1. Prepare the Petition: The first step is to prepare a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This document contains all relevant information about your marriage, children (if any), property, and how you wish to divide assets and parental responsibilities.
  2. File the Petition: The prepared petition is then filed with the Circuit Court in the county where either you or your spouse lives. A filing fee must be paid, which varies by county.
  3. Serve the Petition: Your spouse must be formally notified once the petition is filed. This may be done by having a process server or sheriff deliver the divorce papers to them.
  4. Wait for Response: The served spouse has 20 days to respond to the petition. If they fail to respond, a default judgment may be made in your favor.
  5. Financial Disclosure: Within 45 days of the petition's service, both parties must provide a financial affidavit to each other outlining their financial circumstances. This includes income, assets, debts, and expenses.
  6. Negotiations and Mediation: If the divorce is contested, there will be negotiations to try to reach an agreement. This typically involves mediation, a procedure wherein an impartial third party assists the pair in reaching a mutually agreeable solution.
  7. Trial: The case will go to trial if an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation and mediation. Here, a judge will make decisions regarding all contested issues.
  8. Final Judgment: Once all issues are resolved through agreement or a judge's decision, the court issues a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. This document officially ends the marriage.
  9. Wait 20 days: After the final judgment is given, Florida has a 20-day waiting period. After this, the divorce is finalized.

Remember that each divorce case is unique and may not follow this process exactly. Therefore, consulting with a knowledgeable divorce attorney is advised to understand how the process will work in your specific circumstances.

Divorce Requirements in Florida

Meeting certain prerequisites is necessary when embarking on the divorce process in Florida. The following details these requirements:

  • Residency Requirements - Florida law mandates that one spouse must have been a resident of Florida for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce. This residency status is typically proven by a valid Florida driver's license, a Florida voter's registration card, or the testimony or affidavit from a third party.
  • Grounds for Divorce - Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that one must not prove any wrongdoing or marital misconduct. The only requirement is to assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

What Documents Do I Need for Divorce in Florida?

A divorce attorney can greatly help in preparing and understanding the required documents, ensuring a smoother divorce process.

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage - This is the primary document needed to initiate the divorce process. The filing spouse must prepare this document, stating necessary information about the marriage, children (if any), assets and debts, and how they wish to divide them.
  • Financial Affidavit - Florida divorces also require a comprehensive financial disclosure within 45 days of the divorce petition being served. This includes income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Financial documents supporting this disclosure include bank statements, retirement account statements, tax returns, and credit card statements.
  • Parenting Plan - If minor children are involved, Florida courts will require a parenting plan. This outlines details about child custody, visitation time, child support, and other parenting responsibilities.
  • Marital Settlement Agreement - If the divorce is uncontested, the spouses can submit a marital settlement agreement. This is a legally binding document where the spouses agree on asset and debt division, child custody, child support, and other family law matters.

How Miami Family Law Group, PLLC Can Help

Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, can be a complex and emotionally taxing process. At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, our team of experienced divorce attorneys is here to help you navigate this challenging period with professionalism and compassion.

Role of an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Having a seasoned divorce lawyer on your side can make a significant difference in your case. From understanding the intricacies of Florida law to accurately preparing divorce papers, our attorneys ensure every detail is meticulously handled. We guide you through the entire process, explaining every step and offering legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances.

In contested divorces, we represent your best interests and fight tirelessly for a favorable outcome, whether that involves negotiating a fair property division settlement or ensuring your parental rights are protected in a custody dispute. If your divorce case requires mediation or goes to trial, you can count on our unwavering advocacy.

For uncontested divorces, we ensure that the agreement reached is legally binding, protecting you from potential disputes in the future. Our team also verifies that all financial disclosures are accurate and complete, helping avoid complications.

Services Offered by Miami Family Law Group, PLLC

We offer a comprehensive range of family law services that allow us to meet each individual client's needs. They include:

  • Filing divorce petitions and preparing all necessary legal documents.
  • Mediation services to reduce conflict.
  • Assistance with financial disclosure requests and analysis.
  • Negotiation of property division, child custody, and spousal support.
  • Representation in mediation or at a divorce trial.
  • Assistance with post-divorce modifications.

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, we understand the strain a divorce can place on individuals and families. Our dedicated team is here to make this process as seamless and straightforward as possible, providing you with valuable peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Miami


How Long Does Divorce Take in Florida?

Answer: If both parties agree on all terms of the divorce, this is known as an uncontested divorce. A Florida uncontested divorce can typically be finalized in as little as four to five weeks, following the mandatory 20-day waiting period after filing the divorce petition. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the court's schedule and the timeliness of filing all necessary documents. However, for a contested divorce, where there are disagreements that need to be resolved, the process can take several months to a year or even longer.


What Is a Simplified Divorce?

Answer: Simplified divorces are uncontested and grounded in "no fault" principles. They are typically pursued by couples with a brief marital history, no children, and minimal assets. In these cases, the absence of disagreements between the spouses expedites the divorce process.


How Long Do You Have to Wait to File for Divorce in Florida?

Answer: Florida law does not require a waiting period to file for divorce, but there are residency requirements. At least one spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months before filing the divorce petition.

Contact Our Miami Divorce Lawyers

When navigating the winding road of divorce, knowing the process, understanding the requirements, and preparing for the waiting period can make a significant difference. Despite the procedural challenges and emotional turmoil, remember that this, too shall pass. In Miami, Florida, whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce, the time it takes from filing to finalization is a period of transition and change.

At Miami Family Law Group, PLLC, we are here to guide you through every step. Our experienced divorce attorneys have a deep understanding of Florida law, and we will work diligently to ensure your rights are protected and your divorce can proceed as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Do not navigate this complex process alone. Allow us to support you, provide valuable legal assistance, and help you start the next chapter of your life. Contact Miami Family Law Group, PLLC today to schedule a consultation. The future may be uncertain, but with the right guidance, you can face it with confidence.

Speak to an attorney dedicated to your best interests today by calling 305-520-7874.

Contact Miami Family Law Group, PLLC

Our attorneys are ready to help address your legal needs. Schedule an appointment by calling 305-520-7874 or contacting us online.

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