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In order to begin the dissolution of marriage (Florida's term for divorce) process you will need to file a petition for dissolution of marriage, a civil cover sheet, a notice of social security number, a financial affidavit, and a affidavit from a corroborating witness. A petition for dissolution can be in its typical form or can be simplified dissolution of marriage in nature. A simplified dissolution of marriage petition should be used by couples who have mutually decided that they will disolve their marriage and have either do not have any marital assets or have already decided on who they will divide the assets and debts in a marital settlement agreement. Generally, you will not use the simplified forms when there are children involved.
Once you have filled out the forms indicated above, you will need to determine what county you will file the suit in. By rule you will need to live in the jurisdiction you wish to file in for a period of 2008->Ch0061->Section 021#0061.021" type=1>six months prior to the filing of the suit. There are several exceptions to this general rule which require a more indepth analysis of your facts. You can find your clerk of court and their address to file suit by searching on Clerk Web Sites. In addition to filing the paperwork you will need to submit your filing fee of $408.00; $10.00 for a Summons; and a check for $40.00 (rates may vary) for personal service of your Summons on your spouse.
After you have filed the paperwork described above, you have started the clock on several important items. First, your spouse will have 20 days from the date of his service to file an answer to the petition for dissolution. You will also have 45 days from the date of filing to file your mandatory discovery with the court.
Assuming that your spouse has filed an answer and waiver (follow the link above) your next task will be filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings and submitting it with a proposed final judgment to the court.
The Flagler County Clerk of Court has automated the filling out of many of the necessary forms dissolution proceedings. See their turbo forms here.
Offer of Judgments can be a useful tool in civil litigation cases for several reasons. One of the most alluring aspects of this tool is that litigants have the ability to collect attorneys’ fees where they would otherwise be prohibited from doing so. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your read of the case. I have provided a link to the .pdf version of both the Florida Statute and the Florida Rule of Civil Procedure. If after reviewing the rules you still have questions, please phone my office to schedule some time for us to sit down and talk about your case and how a offer of judgment can affect it.
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