Quick Divorce in Florida – Is It Possible?

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What is a “Quick divorce in Florida”?

I have many clients who want to know how fast they can get a quick divorce in Florida.  The first thing I tell them is there is no “quick” divorce in Florida, only slow and “less slow.”

I Want a Quick Divorce in Florida!

quick divorce in Florida - image of a wrist watch being held across a red backgroundIt would be great if we could just send in paperwork directly to our favorite judge and get them to sign off the same day but the reality is something quite different.

The first thing clients need to know is that you have to be a resident of the State of Florida for 6 months before you are eligible to even file for a divorce.  This can, however, be either party to a divorce. For example, if you live in Ohio and your spouse has lived in Tampa for 6 months then you are still eligible to file.

If neither party has been a “resident” for 6 months, you will just have to wait.  I do advise my clients to go ahead and get the paperwork drafted and signed beforehand. This will help to make sure that we are ready to file at the first and earliest opportunity.

What Happens After I File?

Once a divorce action is filed there is a mandatory waiting period of 20 days before it can be signed off by the judge.

I recently saw one of my competitors advertise a “20 day quick divorce in Florida.”  That is completely misleading.  Yes, technically you can be divorced in 20 days but practically there is almost no way that will happen. I will explain why:

Almost every judicial circuit in Florida uses what are called “case managers.”

Case managers sort through the paperwork to make sure all is in order before sending it to the judge for signature.  Case managers almost never look at a file before the 20 days is up.  It would be great if they would but let’s face the facts – they won’t.

Assuming you get a case manager who is really good at their job and is very efficient you might expect them to review your file within a few days after the 20 day waiting period.  If everything is in order, they will send the file up to the judge’s office for review and signature.

This does not mean that the judge is sitting at his or her desk waiting to sign orders as they come through the door.  Most judges have an “in chambers” day where they can catch up on the paperwork that has piled up on their desk.  Once it gets to the judge it really depends on the judge’s calendar and work load as to when your divorce gets signed.

I have had many clients ask me why I can’t just call the judge and ask them to prioritize their file. It’s a great idea in theory but it is not allowed and to be frank, everyone wants their case prioritized.

OK, So What is a Reasonably Quick Divorce in Florida?

I tell my clients that it is reasonable to expect their divorce to be final in about 30 to 40 days from the date of filing.

That is not a guarantee but it is a pretty safe estimate based on years of experience with the courts.  Anything can happen to slow it down a bit.  Judges are human too.  They go on vacation, they get sick and yes, sometimes they just get lazy.

What I can promise you is that I will have all your documents filed and to the case managers before the 20 day period so that it can be signed at the earliest possible time.

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