Obvious? Not so.
So many Florida residents think (or, anyway, say) they have a “simple uncontested divorce“, often adding “there’s really nothing to fight about”.
But that does not make a Florida divorce uncontested. Not even close.
There is one way – and only one way – that a Florida divorce becomes an uncontested Florida Divorce.
And that way is … both spouses must sign a marital settlement agreement that resolves the issues.
(OK, technically, there are two other ways. One, if the other spouse allows a default to be entered and to stand. Two, the other spouse signs an answer and waiver. Don’t count on either of those two things being more likely to happen.)
At a minimum, those issues include:
- property division, technically called “equitable distribution” of marital assets and debts
- alimony, technically called spousal support
and, if the spouses have children together,
- parental responsibility (in the sense of decision-making authority) (the term custody is now obsolete in Florida)
- timesharing (formerly known as “visitation”) and
- child support.
The latter three matters must be spelled out more particularly in a “parenting plan“.
Don’t get me wrong. There can be many other issues too, large and small.
But the point is: if one spouse is unwilling to sign a marital settlement agreement (or the desired marital settlement agreement) resolving these issues then, with the two possible but very unusual exceptions cited above, the divorce is not uncontested.
No matter how much the other spouse would like it to be. No matter how unreasonable the refusal to sign may be.
Period. End of story.
So even though the divorce may be simple and there may not be anything to fight about, the only way that divorce will happen is after a trial.