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Why can't I just get divorced right away in Florida?

If you have made the decision that you want a divorce, or if your spouse has made that decision, making that happen immediately can be a primary goal for one or both of you.

However, for better or worse, there are some reasons why you will have to wait at least a couple weeks for a petition for divorce to be finalized. The time between filing for divorce and having it finalized is intended to give people the chance to reconcile and to establish residency in a particular state.

The waiting period is in place to give people the chance to cool off and perhaps rethink the decision to divorce. This period of time varies from state to state, but Florida recognizes a 20-day waiting period.

In some cases, this 20-day period is all it takes for people to reassess their choices and decide against divorce. In other cases, however, it is just a formality standing between two people and their inevitable split.

Another time restriction that must be observed is the residency requirement. Just about every state, including Florida, has residency requirements for divorce. These dictate how long one or both people must be a resident of a state before filing for divorce in that state. To file for divorce in this state, the person filing the petition must have lived here for at least six months prior to filing.

This means that you cannot just move to Florida and file for divorce right away, which some people want to do if this (or another) state has more favorable laws in terms of waiting periods, alimony and child custody. Residency of at least six month must be established first.

Between the waiting period and residency requirements, you will have to wait a little while before your divorce can be finalized. While this can be frustrating or upsetting, you can use the time to discuss your legal options with your attorney and make some important decisions about what you want or don't want at the end of the process.

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Tannenbaum Scro, P.L.
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