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The Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce in Florida

An uncontested divorce is where both spouses agree to divorce and have no major or outstanding disagreements concerning important divorce issues, such as property division, spousal support, and a parenting plan. An uncontested divorce usually will not involve a hearing in court and involves far less paperwork.

In contrast, a contested divorce is where one or both of the parties cannot reach an agreement as to a major divorce issue. Unlike uncontested divorces, which can take as little as one month in Florida, a contested divorce can be a complex process and take several months to even years to complete.

Who is Eligible for an Uncontested Divorce in Florida?

Uncontested divorce will be available to only those Florida couples who mutually agree upon the decision to divorce one another. In addition, you and your spouse must have a basic understanding of major issues in a divorce, such as spousal support, parenting plans, and property division. An uncontested divorce attorney can assist you in this area.

With an understanding of the issues, the spouses must then be able to agree on resolution of these concerns. This can take a little time, compromise, and possibly outside help, but most couples who express a willingness to work together to obtain an uncontested divorce can make it through the process.

What are some of the Pros and Cons of Uncontested Divorce in Florida?

An uncontested divorce has several advantages over a traditional one in Florida, such as:

  • Streamlined process: Since you and your spouse are essentially agreeing to all of the terms of the divorce, an uncontested divorce will involve much less time and paperwork. The entire process can often be completed in less than 30 days. This can significantly lower the costs of the proceedings as well as the time and effort required to dissolve your marriage.
  • Lower costs: An uncontested divorce will generally cost far less in attorneys' fees and court-associated costs for both parties, since you will only require minimal attorney help and often no time in court.
  • Less information made public: Divorce proceedings are eventually made accessible in the county of your jurisdiction's public records. An uncontested divorce will have less published information concerning the background and history of the parties because the proceedings themselves involve less paperwork.
  • Control over your divorce: Unlike a traditional divorce, in which a judge will make crucial decisions concerning division of property, spousal support, and a parenting plan, an uncontested divorce puts you in control. You and your spouse can generate a settlement agreement which you are happy with. There are no surprises or wins and losses - just your divorce as you see fit.

Despite these many Pros, an uncontested divorce may not be suitable in all circumstances. One of the main drawbacks is:

  • Limited availability: Not every couple will be able to pursue an uncontested divorce. If your spouse refuses to agree to the divorce or absolutely cannot agree on a central divorce issue, you may not be able to pursue an uncontested divorce. With that being said, many spouses initially reluctant to the idea can be persuaded by the many benefits of an uncontested divorce - so do not give up after your first conversation on the matter.

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When the Florida court decides on the issue of child custody and visitation, the gender of the parents is not considered. For example, a mother will not automatically receive custody of the children just because she is the mother. The judge must only consider what is in the best interests of the child. Florida divorce law requires Shared Parental Responsibility. This means that even though the child may live with one parent, the other parent has equal say in raising the child. Each party must be consulted on the education, health, religion, and discipline of the child. And, if the parties cannot agree on these important issues, the judge will make the decisions.
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