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Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) FAQs

How do I get a divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)?

If you and your spouse do not have any minor children born during the marriage, agree to everything, and both parties will sign the petition and appear at the hearing, you can purchase a packet or download the forms for a Simplified Dissolution. However, if one party does not want to appear at the hearing, a Simplified Dissolution should not be filed. There are other packets available, and you should pick the packet that best suits your needs. All packets can be purchased in the Court Business Center/Copy Center, Room 630 of the Edgecomb Courthouse or you may access the forms online.

If you have minor children, think your divorce might be contested, or cannot find your spouse, it may be in your best interest to seek the advice of a lawyer. If you proceed without a lawyer, you may purchase the packet for Dissolution of Marriage with Minor Children. There are several mandatory forms that must be filed in cases with children, such as a Financial Affidavit, Child Support Guidelines, and Uniform Child Custody Affidavit. You must also attend a mandatory four-hour, approved "Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course." Click here for more information on this course.

My spouse and I are filing for divorce. We don't have any children or property. Why do we have to do Financial Affidavits?

Financial Affidavits are required in all Dissolution of Marriage cases. See rule 12.285 Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, pg. FLR 7-11.

I cannot find my spouse to be served with the petition for Dissolution of Marriage. What can I do?

You may explore a method called "Constructive Service" when your spouse cannot be located to be personally served with the Dissolution Petition. You can do this by posting or publication. You should carefully read the instructions on each form to ensure that they apply to your situation. Constructive Service is a very technical area of law; legal advice is strongly recommended. Failure to correctly follow the law may leave you with an invalid divorce.

I filed a petition for divorce and there was no answer. What do I do now so that I can get a hearing? Someone told me something about a Default Motion and a Nonmilitary Affidavit. What are those forms?

 If the petition was served on your spouse and he/she did not file a written response within twenty (20) days of the date of service, you may file a Motion for Default, and Default. You will also have to complete a Nonmilitary Affidavit if your spouse is NOT in the military. Once the Default is entered, you may proceed with your case. The law requires that your spouse receive notice of any final hearings in the dissolution action. As with all available Family Law Supreme Court Forms, you should always read the instructions on the front of the form to ensure it applies to your case.  

The Clerk requires that I file a Nonmilitary Affidavit before they will enter a Default in my case. My problem is, my spouse is in the military, so I can't truthfully file one. Does this mean that I can't get a Default?

It probably means that you can't get a Default issued by the Clerk. You can request a Motion for Default to be heard by the Judge in your case. However, this is complicated by Federal Law, and you should have a lawyer assist you.  

My spouse and I just got divorced. We agreed that there would not be any child support, so why did the judge order it?

Child support is a benefit for the child. It cannot be waived by the parents. The court must follow the law even if you do not want child support.  

What is a Final Judgment?

The Final Judgment is what the judge signs granting your divorce. The Final Judgment should reflect what has been asked for in your petition.  

These forms are confusing. I don't understand some of the words. Can someone help me fill them out?

If you need assistance filling out a form you may want to visit the Legal Information Center located in Room 203 of the Edgecomb Courthouse. The Legal Information Center is a free program to provide information to people who are representing themselves in family law, landlord/tenant, or small claims cases in Hillsborough County. For Further information,  please go to the The Legal Information Center webpage. If you do not understand any forms or procedures in your case, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney.

The last time I was in court, the judge said that if my ex does not comply with the order, I should let him know. How may I schedule an appointment to talk to the judge?

 The judge cannot talk to any one party without the benefit of a hearing with all parties being notified. In order to talk to a judge, you must file something with the court about what it is you want the court to do. Your first step would be to attempt mediation to see if both parties can reach an agreement. Mediation is a required step. If mediation is not successful, then you can file something with the court. You may want to take a look at the available Florida Family Law forms to see if any of them will help you to accomplish your goal. You may access these forms online.

How do I know which General Magistrate or Hearing Officer my case is assigned to?

Please view the General Magistrate / Hearing Officer Division Referral Assignment Table by clicking this link.