Dissolution of Marriage
The great thing about Florida divorce law is that there are many options available to spouses seeking to divorce. For spouses who wish to avoid traditional divorce proceedings, or for spouses whose marriage does not qualify for annulment, a dissolution of marriage may be the most suitable fit. A divorce attorney in Gainesville, FL can help you understand how a dissolution of marriage works and how it differs from other forms of divorce.
Dissolution of Marriage in Florida
A dissolution of marriage is a legal procedure that ends a marriage and legally separates a married couple. It offers an easier and less strenuous process, which is why many people consider a dissolution of marriage as an uncontested form of divorce. Like most divorce proceedings, there are unique and specific qualifications that a married couple must meet in order to be eligible for a dissolution. Gainesville divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates can help guide you through a marriage dissolution.
The Process of Marriage Dissolution
A dissolution of marriage begins when a married couple files a petition of a dissolution of marriage with a court of law. Before filing the petition, married couples should strongly consider if it is the appropriate option of divorce. With a marriage dissolution, married couples are expected to agree on the terms and conditions of a divorce before the petition is filed.
Although spouses may obtain legal guidance and advisement to configure the best needs of each individual before filing a petition, there is typically no legal representation involved during the dissolution process.
Married couples are expected to have a pre-established agreement on many issues, such as:
- how child custody will be arranged if there are children involved;
- how debts, assets and other forms of property will be distributed between the individuals; and
- if alimony and/or spousal support is necessary.
If a married couple is unable to agree to the arrangement of such issues, then a dissolution of marriage is not applicable. However, for couples who have a clear outline of how such issues will be addressed and treated after the termination of their marriage, a petition for a dissolution of marriage is possible. Both spouses must sign a separation agreement that outlines how each marital issue will be resolved, as well as the responsibilities and expectations of each individual.
Once the petition is filed, a hearing date is scheduled during a 30-day to 90-day period. At this hearing, both spouses will be presented with the opportunity to verify that the provisions specified in the agreement are valid and satisfying. If the judge in order sees that the separation is necessary and the terms of the divorce are valid, he/she will terminate the marriage via a court order.
Although a dissolution of a marriage seems simple, spouses should always seek the guidance of Gainesville family attorneys before opting to file a petition for a dissolution of a marriage. It is important that spouses are aware of this rare type of divorce proceeding and are in the appropriate state of mind to make decisions regarding marital issues. The services of an experienced alimony attorney in Gainesville, FL, for example, may be necessary for an individual wishing to gain some form of fiscal support from his/her spouse once the marriage ends. It is best to seek legal counsel when deciding on marital issues such as child custody and support arrangements and equitable distribution to ensure that the terms and conditions of the divorce are fair and comprehensive.
Dissolution vs. Annulments & Divorce
Although dissolution is often used interchangeably with divorce, it should be noted that the processes of dissolution, divorce and annulments are all unique ways of terminating a marriage.
- A dissolution is a way to end a marriage without determining fault. Both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce. The process of dissolution just requests that a court reviews and approves the agreement. Through a dissolution, a marriage will still be considered as something that existed in the past but had ended. The spouses will then be free to marry whomever they desire.
- A divorce is similar in that it also legally terminates an existing marriage and is documented in public records. However, unlike dissolution, the court is typically responsible for deciding how terms such as division of marital property, spousal support, child support and parental responsibilities will be handled and addressed. In dissolution, the spouses have the ability to draft their own terms. Divorces are often much more intense, lengthy, costly and complicated than dissolutions.
- Meanwhile, an annulment differs from both divorces and dissolutions because it voids an existing marriage due to legally invalid conditions and/or defects (such as incest, incompetence, misrepresentation, force, bigamy, etc.) that occurred at the time of entering the marriage. In fact, annulments delete the past existence of such marriages from all public records. The marriage is considered as one that never occurred in the first place.
No matter what form of divorce you may be considering, a family law firm in Gainesville, FL, can help you determine the most suitable option for your unique circumstances and desires.
Gainesville, FL Family Law Firm
At the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates, our experienced family divorce attorneys will advise and guide you before filing a petition of a dissolution of marriage to ensure that you fully comprehend and are satisfied with your plan to address marital issues. Many spouses make terrible decisions because they are unfamiliar with their rights and privileges, as well as what they may need after a marriage is terminated. A dissolution of marriage has far-reaching consequences and may or may not be right for you. Whatever you decide is best for your family, allow our prestigious Gainesville, FL family law firm to assist you during the process. We offer free initial consultations for all families in need.