Defending Your Peace of Mind Divorce Process

Divorce Process in Orlando

Divorce is a challenging and emotionally charged process that can be particularly complex due to the varying laws and regulations from state to state in the United States. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the divorce process in Florida. Whether you are contemplating divorce, in the midst of it, or just curious about the process, understanding the legal framework and steps involved can help you navigate this difficult journey with more clarity and confidence.

Grounds for Divorce

Florida is a "no-fault" divorce state, which means that you do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to obtain a divorce. The only requirement is that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." This no-fault approach often simplifies the divorce process by reducing the need for lengthy and contentious court battles over fault-based allegations.

Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must meet the state's residency requirements. At least one of you must have been a Florida resident for at least six months before filing. If you both meet this requirement, you can file for divorce in the county where either spouse resides.

Filing for Divorce

The divorce process in Florida typically begins when one spouse files a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage" with the local circuit court. This legal document outlines the grounds for divorce and the issues you want the court to address, such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. The filing spouse is known as the "petitioner," while the other spouse becomes the "respondent."

Serving Divorce Papers

Once the petition is filed, the petitioner must serve a copy of the divorce papers to the respondent. This service can be done in various ways, including in-person by a sheriff or process server, by certified mail with return receipt requested, or with the respondent's written consent. Proper service is crucial, as it ensures that the respondent is aware of the divorce proceedings.

Waiting Period

In Florida, there is a mandatory waiting period before the court can finalize the divorce. This waiting period is 20 days from the date of service of the divorce papers. It provides both parties with a window of time to address immediate concerns and possibly reach agreements on issues like property division and child custody.


Florida law encourages divorcing couples to resolve their disputes through mediation. This process involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the spouses reach agreements on issues like property division, alimony, and child custody. Mediation can be a more amicable and cost-effective way to settle disputes compared to lengthy court battles.

Property Division

Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property. This means that the court will aim to divide assets and debts in a fair and equitable manner, but not necessarily equally. Factors considered include each spouse's financial contribution, the duration of the marriage, and individual needs.


Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded to one spouse based on factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse's financial resources, and their contributions to the marriage. Types of alimony in Florida include bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational, and permanent alimony, depending on the circumstances.

Child Custody and Support

When children are involved, determining child custody and support is often one of the most emotionally charged aspects of divorce. Florida courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions. Child support is determined based on guidelines established in state law, taking into account factors like each parent's income and the child's needs.

Settlement or Trial

If the parties can reach an agreement on all divorce-related issues, they can submit a marital settlement agreement to the court for approval. If they cannot agree on all matters, the case may proceed to trial, and a judge will make decisions on unresolved issues.

Finalizing the Divorce

Once all issues are resolved, either through mutual agreement or a court decision, a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is issued. This document formally ends the marriage. If you and your spouse were unable to reach agreements on certain issues, the court will make final decisions for you.

How We Can Help

At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we understand that divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences for any individual. Our experienced family law attorneys provide compassionate and effective legal representation to help you navigate through the divorce process.

We have extensive experience in all aspects of the divorce process. Our team will guide you through each step of the process and help you make informed decisions that are in your best interests.

If you are considering a divorce or have been served with divorce papers in Orlando, do not hesitate to contact us today at (800) 822-5170. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and provide you with the legal guidance you need.

  • “I will definitely be recommending to anyone I know that needs a child custody or divorce attorney!” - A Divorce Client
  • “If you are looking for an attorney who is professional, honest, knowledgeable and responsive to your needs, Gerard Virga meets such requirements.” - A Divorce Client
  • “He responded to my messages promptly and I never felt rushed when speaking with him in meetings and phone conversations.” - A Divorce Client
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