Florida Marital Settlement Agreement

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A Florida marital settlement agreement is a contract that sets forth the terms agreed upon by a couple as it relates to their rights and responsibilities after divorce. Settlement agreements may contain any number of conditions for separation, including alimony, child support, parental obligations, and the division of the couple’s assets and liabilities. When filing for divorce, the parties may ask the court to incorporate the agreement into the final judgment, thus making the terms enforceable by court order. However, if the settlement agreement remains separate from the couple’s divorce case, it may only be enforced by the principles of contract law.

Table of Contents

Divorce Laws

Statutes – Title VI, Ch. 61 (Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time-Sharing)


Alimony (§ 61.08(2)) – In determining the amount of alimony, the court will take the following factors into consideration:

  • Whether alimony is actually needed;
  • Whether the spouse has the capacity to pay alimony or maintenance;
  • The living standard established while married;
  • The age of each spouse;
  • The emotional and physical condition of each spouse;
  • Each spouse’s financial resources, including nonmarital assets, marital assets, and liabilities;
  • Each spouse’s education, vocational skills, and earning capacities;
  • Each spouse’s employability and the time needed to acquire training and education for employment;
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including child care, education, homemaking, and career-building of the other spouse;
  • The spouses’ parental responsibilities;
  • The tax treatment and consequences each spouse would incur if alimony was awarded;
  • Each spouse’s available income and assets; and
  • Any other relevant factor.

Alimony Calculatormyfloridalaw.com

Child Support (§ 61.29 & § 61.30) – A spouse’s child support obligations will be calculated based on the measures set forth in these guidelines.

Child Support Calculatorfloridachildsupportcalculator.com

Division of Property (§ 61.075) – Florida courts employ equitable distribution law to divide marital property. Therefore, marital assets and liabilities will be split fairly instead of equally.

Grounds for Divorce (§ 61.052) – No court shall award a divorce judgment unless it is proven that:

  • The marriage has irretrievably broken; or
  • One (1) of the spouses is mentally incapacitated.

Interim Support (§ 61.071) – Either spouse may request temporary financial support, or “alimony pendente lite,” to cover their living expenses while the divorce case is pending.

Residency (§ 61.021) – A divorce may not be granted unless one (1) of the spouses has maintained residency in Florida for six (6) months preceding the filing of the petition. 

How to File for Divorce in Florida

Divorce Forms

Uncontested Divorce with No Children:

Uncontested Divorce With Children:

Step 1 – Complete the Appropriate Petition

Either spouse may initiate a divorce case by filing a petition with the Circuit Court. The spouse filing for divorce is the “petitioner” and the other spouse is the “respondent.” The type of petition chosen by the petitioner must correspond with the circumstance of their case. From the following list of documents, the petitioner must select and complete the appropriate divorce form:

After the petition has been filled out, it must be signed by the petitioner in the presence of a notary public or deputy clerk.

Step 2 – Proof of Residency

The court requires evidence that the petitioner or respondent has resided in Florida for six (6) months. To prove their residency status, the party who satisfies the requirements must make a photocopy of their current Florida driver’s license, identification card, or voter registration card and include it with their divorce filings. Alternatively, a third-party may attest to the party’s residency by completing an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness and signing it in the presence of a notary.

Step 3 – Mandatory Disclosures

Additional disclosures may need to be prepared and included with the divorce filings. The petitioner should review the following documents and draft the forms that apply to their divorce case:

Once the disclosures have been filled out, each document must be signed before a notary public or deputy clerk.

Step 4 – Parenting Documents

If the spouses have minor or dependent children together, or if the wife is pregnant, the documents below must be completed and included with the petitioner’s divorce filing. The additional documents inform the court on how the couple intends to manage their parental responsibilities, pay child support, and maintain custody of their children. The parties must sign the completed documents in the presence of a notary public or deputy clerk.

Step 5 – File Divorce Paperwork and Pay Fee

The petitioner should make at least two (2) copies of each divorce document before submitting their filings to the Circuit Court in the county where they or their spouse have resided for at least (6) months. Included with the filing package must be a Cover Sheet for Family Court Cases and payment for the $409 filing fee (additional charges may apply if the divorce involves children or alimony). If the petitioner is unable to pay the fee, they may ask for a fee exemption by filing an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status.

Note: Many of the documents, including the divorce petition, may be filed electronically using the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal. The petitioner should speak with a court clerk to see what forms can be filed online.

Step 6 – Serve Paperwork on Respondent

Immediately after filing the divorce paperwork, the petitioner must complete and file a Summons: Personal Service on an Individual and Process Service Memorandum. A clerk will sign the summons and return both documents to the petitioner. The summons, memorandum, and copies of each divorce document must be provided to the sheriff’s department or a private process server in the county where the respondent lives. For a fee, a deputy sheriff or a private process server will serve the entire filing package on the respondent or another individual above the age of fifteen (15) who lives with the respondent.

  • The person who served the papers will complete a proof of service after delivering the documents. It is the petitioner’s responsibility to ensure that the proof of service is filed with the court.

Step 7 – Answer Petition

Once served with the divorce papers, the respondent will have twenty (20) days to file a written answer indicating whether they admit or deny the petition’s allegations. If the respondent agrees with each claim in the petition and they wish to waive their right to a final hearing and instead receive a final judgment by mail, they must file an Answer, Waiver, and Request for Copy of Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. In all other cases, the respondent must file an Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The respondent’s answer must be signed in front of a notary or deputy clerk, and a copy must be delivered to the petitioner.

Step 8 – Notice of Hearing

Either spouse can ask the court clerk to set a hearing date for their case. The hearing could be held before a judge, general magistrate, or child support enforcement hearing officer. After scheduling the hearing, the same spouse must complete the appropriate document below and file it with the court. A copy of the form must then be delivered to the other party.

Step 9 – Judgment

The parties must appear in court on the date and time scheduled by the court. A judge will review the case information and decide whether a divorce should be granted. If a divorce judgment is awarded, the judge will sign a Final Judgement to complete the process (see judgment forms below).

Step 10 – Name Change

If a spouse petitioned the court to restore their maiden name, they must request a certified copy of their final judgment from the clerk’s office (there may be a fee). The certified copy of the final judgment may then be used to update their information with the Social Security Administration, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, and other institutions.

(Video) Florida Marital Settlement Agreement – EXPLAINED