If you and your spouse are amicably divorcing, streamline the marriage dissolution process with do-it-yourself petitions from the Hillsborough County court website. Choosing the right petition depends on the complexity of the situation; dependents, property or alimony can complicate things. Forms are the same throughout the Florida county courts and are available on county and state websites for free or in person at the courthouse for a fee. You must file in the county of residence.
An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree to all terms from the onset. Any negotiations over assets, alimony or custody are decided prior to filing the divorce petition.
While you can file for divorce without the help and/or representation of an attorney, consider consulting one if there is any disagreement between you and your soon-to-be ex, especially over property, alimony and/or children.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
This is the most cost-effective way to file for divorce in Hillsborough County. The county's Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, packet number 27, contains all of the forms and information that you will need to start and finish an uncontested divorce where there are no children involved. It costs $408 to file the petition. Because it is uncontested, the minimum waiting period is only 20 days, but could be longer subject to the court's calendar to schedule the divorce hearing.
The person filing for divorce must reside in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for simplified dissolution. Parties must also meet specific criteria to be eligible for the simplified dissolution of marriage option. Parties must agree the marriage is failed with no hope of salvage. No minor children are involved and there is no impending pregnancy. Asset and liability division is already agreed upon. No party seeks alimony. Other than the financial affidavits filed with the petition, there are no requests for more extensive financial review. Parties waive their rights to trial and appeal. Both parties must sign the petition at the clerk's office and attend the final hearing.
Dissolution of Marriage With Dependent or Minor Children
In situations where there are minor children or other dependents involved, use the county's Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children by Agreement, packet number 15, to do your divorce yourself. This petition works similarly to the simplified dissolution except children or dependents are involved. You must use this form to address custody arrangements of minor children, other dependents or a pending birth. Complete the petition at the courthouse, signing in front of the deputy clerk.
Once filed, petitioners must serve the other party who has 20 days to answer. After 20 days, one of three courses of action occurs: default, uncontested or contested. Default means there was no response, and the petitioner may file for a motion for default judgment, meaning the judge automatically rules in favor of the petitioner.
An uncontested response means your spouse fully agrees with the terms of your petition. Then mandatory disclosures, such as assets and liabilities, are filed and a notice of hearing is set based on the court's availability. If your spouse's response disagrees with your original petition, this becomes a contested divorce, and the uncontested do-it-yourself resolutions do not apply.
Dissolution of Marriage With Property But No Dependents
Another packet that you may use is packet number 19, Dissolution of Marriage No Children by Agreement. As the petition form suggests, there are no children involved in this type of dissolution, but there are assets. If no alimony is sought, and the parties agree to the division of assets, simplified dissolution is a faster option. But choosing this type of dissolution over a simplified dissolution reserves rights for an appeal later on.
Time and costs are increased because more court work is done. You file the petition. Your spouse is served. Court hearings are then set based on availability. This option is still considered uncontested as long as your spouse doesn't fight any points in your petition. If she disagrees, this becomes contested with uncontested do-it-yourself solutions no longer applicable.