Florida’s 13% divorce rate is tied with eight other states in the country. Only Maine and Nevada have a higher rate (14%). Incompatibility, infidelity, and financial issues are the major reasons couples decide to uncouple. Once they decide to get divorced, Florida couples have choices for how they get their divorce decree.
Some couples will take the traditional route and let the court make many of the final decisions. Others seeking a quieter, more civilized divorce may attempt to handle things on their own. Regardless of the method, divorce is stressful, emotional, and often argumentative. Even under the best of circumstances, as everyone seeks to protect their own best interests.
If you are considering a pro se divorce, you can still benefit from the assistance of an experienced family law mediator. At BKG Mediation, LLC, I help clients like you in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and throughout the state of Florida as you look to end one chapter in your life and begin another.
Translated from Latin, the term pro se means “on one’s own behalf.” It essentially refers to divorce without lawyers.
Florida law allows couples who agree on the terms of the divorce to dissolve their marriage on their own. They are still required to adhere to the traditional divorce process, but they complete and file all of the necessary paperwork on themselves.
Pro se divorce is only an option for couples who agree on key issues, including division of marital assets and debt, child custody, and child support. They must be able to work through any disputes that may arise and reach written agreements on the terms of the divorce. If they are capable of pursuing a civilized divorce under such terms, there are several advantages to handling matters themselves.
The pro se process is an out-of-court divorce in which the couple makes their own decisions and controls the outcome without relying on a judge.
The cost of a pro se divorce is significantly less expensive because each party is not paying an attorney to handle all documentation, court filings and appearances, and negotiations.
Pro se divorces tend to take considerably less time to finalize than traditional divorces. If all issues are agreed upon and all documentation is in order, a pro se divorce will generally be granted within 30 days of filing.
The process begins with one party filing a petition for dissolution of marriage and providing the other party with a copy of the same. The responding party files an answer to the petition, waiving their right to contest the divorce. Neither party gains an advantage or disadvantage as the petitioner or respondent.
There are several forms the couple must complete and submit, including those that detail the division of assets and debt, child custody and parenting plans, and child support, among others. All forms must be truthful, complete, and signed by both parties.
A judge will review all of the filed documents and — if everything is agreed to and in order — will grant the dissolution.
If you wish to pursue a pro se divorce, I can provide the support you need at BKG Mediation, LLC. Join others in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, and throughout the state of Florida who have relied on me to help them navigate the legal process. If you are ready to get started, call my office today to schedule a consultation.