Florida Divorce – FAQ

Yes. If you have an uncontested divorce, the lowest cost way to get a divorce is to represent yourself. We can help you with the entire process.  Check out our Easy Forms.

However, if you and your spouse have children, large assets, and other complicated matters to decide, you should have an attorney handle the divorce.

TIP: Do not attempt to represent yourself if your spouse has an attorney. Family law courts have their own peculiar rules and operating procedures that can overwhelm and confuse the non-attorney. Simple procedural errors, such as missing a filing deadline, can lead to tragic outcomes, such as losing custody of your children.

The petition is filed in the state and county in which you or your spouse live. There are residency requirements that you must fulfill before you can file for divorce.

Yes. If the sheriff is unable to find your husband to serve him with the divorce papers, you can “serve” him with the pending lawsuit by putting a notification in the local newspaper.

TIP: Large urban counties typically rely on specialized newspapers that print notices, filings, registrations, etc., for those in the legal profession. It will be less expensive to publish a notice in this type of paper than the city newspaper.

Alimony is an amount of money one spouse must pay to the other after a divorce to meet the needs of the more dependent spouse and permit that spouse to become self-supporting. It is now commonly referred to as “spousal support” or “maintenance” in divorce law. In some cases, courts also award alimony to maintain the status quo of the spouses and allow the less affluent spouse to continue a certain standard of living.

Alimony, maintenance, or spousal support payments are awarded as a substitute to the support regularly provided by one spouse to another during marriage. Spousal support may not be available if the marriage lasted less than 10 years.

Alimony is not a lifetime pension for one of the spouses; its purpose is to ease the transition to the time the spouse can support him or herself in a reasonable manner.

Alimony may be requested in a divorce action, but must be requested, in writing, in the Petition or prior to the Final Hearing. In Florida, you may request “temporary alimony”, “permanent alimony”, “bridge-the-gap alimony”, “durational alimony”, “lump sum alimony”, or “rehabilitative alimony”.

Temporary Alimony – paid for a set period of time. It may be paid to sustain an economically dependent spouse during the course of the litigation, and would terminate at the end of the litigation.

Permanent Alimony – spousal support ordered to be paid at a specified, periodic rate until modified by a Court order, the death of either party, or the remarriage of the recipient (whichever comes first).

Bridge-the-gap Alimony – spousal support is ordered to be paid for a short-term, set period of time and is not modifiable. It may be paid to assist the dependent spouse in making a transition from being married to being single. This type of alimony may not exceed a period of two (2) years, and terminates upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the recipient.

Durational Alimony – spousal support is ordered to be paid for a set period of time when permanent periodic alimony may not be appropriate, such as for marriages of short or moderate duration, or marriages of long duration where permanent, ongoing support is not needed. It is terminated upon the death of either party or upon the remarriage of the recipient.

Rehabilitative Alimony – spousal support ordered to be paid for a limited period of time to allow one of the parties an opportunity to complete a plan of education or training, according to a rehabilitative plan accepted by the Court, so that he or she may be more self-sufficient.

Lump Sum Alimony – money ordered to be paid by one spouse to another in a limited number of payments, often a single payment.

In some cases, the court periodically reviews an award of permanent alimony. If the spouse receiving the payments regains the ability to work, remarries, or begins living with someone else on a permanent basis, the court may terminate the payments.

No. Alimony payments end when the person paying dies. You have no further claim for alimony from your ex-husband’s wife or his estate.

TIP: Take out a life insurance policy on your ex-spouse. The benefits will compensate you and replace the alimony payments in case of his death.

No. There is no legal right to alimony or post-divorce support. You must show the court that you qualify for spousal support after the divorce is granted.