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Regular and Simplified Dissolution


Family in need of attorney

In Florida, spouses can obtain a divorce through one of two ways: Regular Dissolution or Simplified Dissolution. Although most divorces involve the ‘regular’ process, for some, a simplified method may be available, depending on your circumstances. Understanding the differences between the two is critical, because even in cases where a simplified procedure is an option, it may not be the most suitable approach to dissolving your marriage. If you are contemplating a divorce in Florida, the Gainesville Divorce Attorneys of Alba & Yochim P.A. encourage you to take the time to carefully consider your dissolution options as early on as possible, so that you can move on with your life, while still protecting your legal rights and interests.

Given that simple divorces are only available in limited cases, it is first necessary to know whether you meet the eligibility requirements to use the simplified procedure, or will be required to use the regular dissolution process. The criteria to obtain a simplified dissolution are as follows:

  • There are no minor or dependent shared by the couple, whether through biological relation or adoption;
  • There are no minor or dependent children born during the marriage;
  • The wife is not currently pregnant;
  • Neither spouse is seeking alimony;
  • The parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken;
  • The parties fully agree upon the division of all assets and liabilities; and
  • Both parties agree to the simplified process, including signing the petition, as well as attendance at the final hearing.

All of the above-listed criterion must be met in order to dissolve a marriage through a simplified procedure. For all others, a divorce in Florida must be obtained through the regular dissolution process. However, while evaluating the availability for a simplified dissolution is a crucial consideration—it is equally important to consider the appropriateness of dissolving your marriage through this approach.

In agreeing to use a simplified procedure, you are essentially giving up your pre-trial, trial, as well as appellate rights, and agreeing to all terms based only upon the facts known to you at that time.

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While in a perfect world, there would be no secrets between the spouses to a marriage, unfortunately this is not always the case. Consider a spouse that was hiding assets, while planning for a divorce. Likewise, consider infidelity, which, in and of itself, will not affect a divorce in Florida, which is a no-fault state that adheres to principles of equitable distribution. However, if your spouse was using marital assets to support their relationship with another, the infidelity in this case, may play an important role in the dissolution process.

In addition to pre-trial rights related to the discovery process, spouses agreeing to a simplified divorce forego their rights to a contested trial. In doing so, the spouses will no longer have the ability to examine or cross-examine one another, as well as opportunity to present character or expert witnesses. In most cases, you will also give up your rights to appeal by using a simplified process.

As a final note, it is important to know that just because a regular dissolution is required—or more appropriate to meet your needs—does not mean that the dissolution process has to involve a long-term, drawn-out, expensive process. For many, it is possible to ‘simplify’ the divorce, even in regular dissolutions. If you have questions, contact us, we have answers.

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