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The Timeline of Divorce in Florida


Divorce is an uncertain and unsettling time. You may wonder what your future holds, what your life will look like, and even how much time you will be able to spend with your children. You may also not know what to expect from the process, or the steps you will have to take throughout it. Now, you need certainty more than ever, but you may not know how to obtain even that. Below, our Orlando divorce lawyer outlines the timeline of divorce in the state so you can move forward with confidence.

The Petition 

Any divorce in Florida officially begins when one spouse files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The petition must state the grounds for divorce, which are irreconcilable differences in the majority of Florida divorce cases. The petition must also include a statement of relief, which asks the court to approve the divorce. The petition must then be filed with the court clerk.

Serve the Petition 

After filing the petition, the clerk will provide you or your spouse with a case number and summons. If you filed for divorce first, you must serve this paperwork to your spouse. Your spouse must serve you with the papers if they filed first.  Service must take place within 120 days of filing the petition with the court. Most divorce papers are served within one week of filing the petition.

The Response 

After the divorce papers are served to the non-filing spouse, they have 20 days to respond to the summons. The response simply admits or denies the allegations made in the petition. If there are issues that are not included in the petition, the answering spouse can file a counter petition. If a counter petition is filed, the other spouse has 20 days to respond.


Under the law, you are required to provide full disclosure during the divorce process. This is done by completing and submitting the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet and the Financial Affidavit. Both spouses must submit these within 45 days of service.


During discovery, each side asks the other for information. This information allows each spouse to understand the arguments the other side will raise and the evidence they will present. There are many different types of discovery, including subpoenas, depositions, written questions and answers, and more. The discovery process has many different deadlines and so, it is important to work with an attorney who can outline what these are and help you throughout the process.


The majority of divorcing couples in Florida must enter mediation before going to trial. During mediation, the couple negotiates and tries to reach an agreement about all terms of the divorce. Mediation is more affordable and less time-consuming than going to trial but if it is unsuccessful, the couple will have to go to court to resolve their issues.

Our Divorce Lawyer in Orlando Can Help You Through the Process 

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, our Orlando divorce lawyer at Anderson & Ferrin, P.A. can help. We will guide you through the process so it is as easy as possible for you and help you obtain the best outcome possible. Call us today at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.



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