Everyone knows that lawsuits involve paperwork, and this is no less true with respect to family law matters. Many of the forms used in Florida have confusingly similar or unclear names, so divorcing spouses are often unsure which ones are required. Orlando Family Team believes that working one-on-one with clients helps demystify the stressful process of divorce. Below are some of the divorce forms we may file for you in your case.
What Divorce Forms Are You Required to File
Petition Divorce Forms
Spouses may file for divorce using one of four Petition for Dissolution of Marriage forms, depending on their circumstances and needs. All forms require that either spouse has lived in Florida at least six months prior to filing; beyond that, there are many differences among them:
- Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Used where the spouses have no minor or dependent children together, and the wife is not currently pregnant. The parties have also decided how to divide their marital assets and liabilities, and neither spouse is seeking alimony. This form waives the right to a trial or appeal but both parties will still be required to attend a final hearing.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren). As the name implies, spouses file this form when they either have children together or the wife is currently pregnant. A trial or final hearing will be required, depending on how and whether the defendant spouse (respondent) answers the petition.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Property but No Dependent or Minor Child(ren). If the spouses have no children and the wife is not currently pregnant, they can file this form if either they disagree about how to divide marital assets and liabilities or one party is seeking alimony. This form may also be filed to acquire financial information from the other spouse before a trial or settlement. Finally, spouses can use this form to reserve their rights, appeal a judge’s decision, or have the court reconsider a matter.
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Dependent or Minor Child(ren) or Property. This form is similar to the Simplified Petition (no children, no marital assets or liabilities, and no alimony), but is used where a spouse wants to obtain financial information from the other spouse; reserve their rights; appeal a judge’s decision; or have the court reconsider a matter.
There are supporting documents that have to be filed in certain divorce cases. They include:
- Financial affidavits
- Child support worksheets
- Marital settlement agreement forms
- Affidavit (to corroborate residency)
- Notice of Social Security Number
Some forms may not be necessary in your case, and there are several variations of them depending on which petition you file. Ask an experienced attorney which ones you may need.
Notice And Service Divorce Forms
It’s not enough to file your petition for divorce; it has to be properly served on the other spouse. Florida uses several forms for this purpose:
- Summons. This is used to effectuate service of the lawsuit on the respondent. “Service” means giving a copy of the lawsuit paperwork to the other party in a legally acceptable manner.
- Process Service Memorandum. Used to give instructions to the sheriff or process server on how best to serve the respondent.
- Certificate of Service. Used to affirm with the court that service has been effectuated.
- Memorandum for Certificate of Military Service. This form is used to serve members of the armed forces. Special service rules apply to these parties.
- Affidavit of Military Service. All petitioners are required to file this form if the respondent has not answered the petition and you are requesting divorce by default. It is designed to ensure that the rights of any respondents in the armed forces are protected.
There are also forms relating to:
- Affidavit of Diligent Search (for constructive, as opposed to actual, service)
- Driver’s License Records Request
- Designation of Current Address and E-mail Address
Answers To Petitions
If you are the respondent, it’s important to answer the divorce petition that has been served upon you. In some cases, the petitioner (the original plaintiff in the case) may also need to file additional paperwork following an answer. There are numerous such forms depending on the case:
- Answer, Waiver, and Request for Copy of Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Used where the respondent does not wish to contest the divorce petition or appear at a hearing. It effectively admits the allegations in the petition, waives the final hearing, and requests a copy of the divorce judgment.
- Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This form is used where the respondent wishes to answer or deny allegations in the petition, but does not intend to file a counterpetition. Similar to a counterclaim, the counterpetition asks for something not requested in the petition.
- Answer to Petition and Counterpetition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Child(ren). Sets forth answers and denials to the allegations in the corresponding petition, and sets forth a counterpetition.
- Answer to Petition and Counterpetition for Dissolution of Marriage with Property but No Dependent or Minor Child(ren). Sets forth answers and denials to the allegations in the corresponding petition, and sets forth a counterpetition.
- Answer to Petition and Counterpetition for Dissolution of Marriage with No Dependent or Minor Child(ren) or Property. Sets forth answers and denials to the allegations in the corresponding petition, and sets forth a counterpetition.
- Answer to Counterpetition. A counterpetition is like its own lawsuit, which means the petitioner should use this form to answer it.
- Answer to Supplemental Petition. Used to answer requests made in certain supplemental petitions, where the party does not intend to file a counterpetition.
Let Orlando Family Team Help You File These Divorce Forms
There are many more forms that may arise in your divorce case, and additional instructions and requirements. It is important not only that you file all required forms, but that each one is completed, filed, and served correctly. Having an experienced divorce attorney is critical to preserving your legal rights and ensuring you have your day in court. Our husband and wife team are ready to help. Call Orlando Family Team today.