Filing for a Divorce in Florida

If you are considering a divorce, or if you have been served with a petition for dissolution of marriage, it is your choice as to whether you should hire a Tampa divorce lawyer. Attorney Nilo J Sanchez  & Associates has represented couples in uncontested and contested divorce cases for 25 years.

In Florida there are two basic types of divorce in Florida, regular or simplified divorces and contested divorces. In order to seek a divorce in Florida one of the parties must show that they have resided in Florida for at least the six month period immediately preceding the filing of papers for the dissolution of marriage.  Also, the marriage must be “irretrievably broken”. It’s quite rare, but a Judge can order counseling before granting the Florida dissolution of marriage.

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Florida

The process of a divorce starts with you or your attorney filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. In Tampa, this would be filed with the circuit court in Hillsborough County or where you and your spouse last lived together or it could be in a county where either party in the divorce proceeding resides.

You or your spouse may file for a dissolution of marriage in Florida. The “petitioner” is the person filing for divorce and it is asking the courts not only to dissolve the marriage, but it also asks for specific things, such as alimony, child support, time sharing and/or other relief. 


If you have been served with divorce papers, you must file your answer to the courts within 20 days from the date you were served with the papers. Not only must you address all of the issues in the petition, it is wise to consider a counter petition which raises any other issues that you have that you would like the courts to consider.  This initial phase of filing your answer is crucial to a successful outcome. Many people feel they can represent themselves, but often find that difficulties arise because they did not understand Florida Law and Statutes with regards to divorce, filing answers, etc.

You Must Disclose Your Finances in a Florida Divorce

Florida requires that each party involved in a divorce proceeding provide financial documents as well as a completed financial affidavit to the other party within 45 days of the service of the petition or several days prior to any hearings for temporary relief. If you do not file this information with the courts, the courts can actually dismiss your case or refuse your requests. Financial affidavits are mandatory in all Florida divorces where financial relief has been requested.

Mediation and Divorce in Florida

Mediation can help you and your spouse work out your differences and requests to avoid litigation. Many couples have found that mediation was helpful in saving attorney fees and long, drawn out divorce proceedings. Your Tampa divorce lawyer should be a skilled mediator who is willing to work with the opposing party’s attorney to reach your desired goals while avoiding litigation if possible.  Many Florida courts require couples to mediate prior to going to a final hearing or “trial.”