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Many people in Florida who are thinking about getting a divorce probably have more questions than answers when it comes to the legal process. They know that their marriage is at the end of the line, but they don’t know much about how the legal case will proceed. Nonetheless, understanding the basic framework and timeline of a divorce case is crucial.

What is the timeline for a typical divorce case in Florida? In many situations, the case starts when one of the spouses sits down with a divorce attorney and drafts the appropriate paperwork to file the case in family law court. The initial paperwork will inform the court and the other spouse of the reason why a divorce is necessary, as well as how the spouse who is initiating the case proposes to settle many of the issues that will come up in the case. This can include property division, child custody and child support.

Next, that paperwork is then “served” – officially delivered, with confirmation – to the other spouse. The other spouse then has a designated period of time in which to file a response with the family law court. The response will let the parties and the court know whether or not the case is going to be complicated to get settled or if the spouses are in relative agreement as to the terms of the divorce.

If the case is going to be complicated in any way, the parties may exchange information about assets and other financial information during a “discovery” phase. Also, the parties may decide that mediation is an option, thereby forgoing any potential civil divorce trial in court. However, in some cases, courtroom litigation is the only option. Either way, in the end, once all issues are settled, a divorce decree will be issued by the court, which officially ends the marriage.

While divorces are not uncommon in society, it is not a process everyone is completely familiar with. Thus, it is imperative that one fully understands the process, getting assistance when necessary to move through the dissolution of a marriage.