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The below-described forms are used for collaborative law in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Martin County. For self-help forms for simplified divorces, see The Florida Courts self-help center, or contact us for inexpensive legal assistance.
1. A Civil Action Cover Sheet. The civil action cover sheet tells the court that you are filing for a divorce and provides the name of both spouses. The spouse signing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is called the "Petitioner" and the other spouse is called the "Respondent." The civil action cover sheet lists the name of the circuit court and county where you are filing. The clerk of the court will insert your case number and assign a judge after you file the necessary papers. In a collaborative divorce one of the attorney's will prepare the civil action cover sheet.
2. An Information Sheet. The information sheet gives the court information about you and your spouse, such as your address and phone number, and whether you or your spouse are represented by counsel. It also informs the court whether there are children involved, and if yes, how many and their ages. In a collaborative divorce one of the attorney's will prepare the civil cover sheet.
3. A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the document stating that you want a divorce and providing necessary information for the court. In a collaborative divorce the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is signed by the spouse who is going to court to obtain a final judgment. In a collaborative divorce the parties have reached a collaborative settlement agreement prior to filing the petition. That collaborative marital settlement agreement is presented to the court with the petition showing that all matters have been resolved and a divorce should be granted incorporating the terms of the collaborative marital settlement agreement.
4. Answer, Waiver, and Request for Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. When a petition is filed by one spouse, the other spouse must be presented with the petition, or "served" with a summons and is required to "respond" or answer the petition. In a collaborative case, since both parties have entered into a marital collaborative settlement agreement resolving all their issues, there is no reason to "serve" either of the parties or require an answer. Therefore, the non-petitioning spouse signs and notarizes a document called an "Answer and Waiver" stating that they agree to accept service of the petition, and agree to the statements the petition.
5. A Financial Affidavit. A Financial Affidavit is a document in the form of an affidavit that shows your net income, which is calculated from your gross income, including benefits, and your allowable deductions. It also reflects your expenses, the expenses for any minor children, and your assets and liabilities. The Husband and Wife must each prepare and file a Financial Affidavit. The Financial Affidavit must be signed and notarized.
6. A Marital Settlement Agreement. The Marital Settlement Agreement is the document filed with the court which resolves all of the issues between the parties, including, distribution of assets and liabilities, child support, custody, visitation, and alimony. It acts as the contract for your divorce. In a collaborative case the marital settlement agreement is sometimes referred to as a collaborative marital settlement agreement.
7. A UCCJEA Affidavit. Each parent must comply with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act ("UCCJEA") by filing a UCCJEA Affidavit. The UCCJEA Affidavit provides information about any prior custody proceedings, and information regarding the residence of each child for the prior five year period. The UCCJEA Affidavit must be signed and notarized.
8. A Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. If there is a minor child, or minor children of the Husband and Wife, they are required to provide for support of the minor child and file a child support worksheet prior to obtaining a divorce. In a collaborative case, the parties and their attorney's have prepared the child support worksheet according to their agreement and incomes and it is filed with the court either at the time the petition is filed, or at the time of the final judgment.
9. A Parenting Plan. This may be included comprehensively in the Marital Settlement Agreement, or it may be drafted as a separate document. The parties are required to provide the court with an outline of how the parents will share time with the child and provide for health insurance for the child, as well as who will be responsible for school related matters, and the methods the parents will use to communicate with the child. In a collaborative case, the parties and their attorneys prepare the parenting plan working together and it is filed with the court either at the time the petition is filed, or at the time of the final judgment.
10. A Notice of Final Hearing. In order to obtain a Final Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage the spouse who signed the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must appear before the court. The notice of hearing is the form which is filed with the court that sets the date to appear before the judge of your court for the final hearing. If the Wife wishes to resume her former name, the Wife will be required to appear before the court to testify that she is not requesting the change for any fraudulent purpose.
11. The Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. The Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is the document signed by the judge which grants your divorce. In a collaborative case, the final judgment incorporates the terms of the collaborative marital settlement agreement.
12. A Certification of Attending Parenting Course or Children of Divorce Course. In most circuit courts (the court in the county where you filed your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) if the parties have a child or children, each parent must file a certificate showing that they have taken a parenting course. In some circuit courts, depending on the age of the child, the child must take a course as well.
Collaborative Lawyers, Inc. is a Florida state-wide educational and professional development association and business directory of independent Florida licensed attorneys at law and law firms who practice in the areas of collaborative divorce and collaborative family law. It sponsors Collaborative Lawyers of Southeast Florida, our informal practice group. While our website is under construction, to contact us, please see our directory, and feel free to contact us. Read articles about collaborative law in our articles section of this website, get other information from our resources section, and do visit us when our blog launches after the New Year. If you're a collaborative lawyer in South Florida or elsewhere, and would like to submit an article, contribute to a blog, or join a collaborative practice group, we'd like to hear from you.
We primarily work with collaborative lawyers in South Florida (Southeast Florida), but occasionally other Florida cities:
Cities in Miami-Dade County, Florida (11th Judicial Circuit): Aventura - Bal Harbour - Bay Harbor Islands - Biscayne Park - Coral Gables - Doral - El Portal - Florida City - Golden Beach - Hialeah - Hialeah Gardens - Homestead - Indian Creek Village - Islandia - Key Biscayne - Medley - Miami - Miami Beach - Miami Gardens - Miami Shores Village - Miami Springs - North Bay Village - North Miami - North Miami Beach - Opa-Locka - Pinecrest - South Miami - Sunny Isles Beach - Surfside - Sweetwater - Virginia Gardens - West Miami
Cities in Broward County, Florida (17th Judicial Circuit): Coconut Creek - Cooper City - Coral Springs - Dania Beach - Davie - Deerfield Beach - Fort Lauderdale - Hallandale - Hillsboro Beach - Lauderdale-By-The-Sea - Lauderdale Lakes - Lazy Lake Village - Lighthouse Point - Margate- North Lauderdale - Oakland Park - Parkland - Pembroke Pines - Plantation - Pompano Beach - Sea Ranch Lakes - Southwest Ranches - Sunrise - Tamarac - Weston - Wilton Manors
Cities in Palm Beach County, Florida (15th Judicial Circuit): Atlantis - Belle Glade - Boca Raton - Boynton Beach - Briny Breezes - Cloud Lake - Delray Beach - Glen Ridge - Golf - Golfview - Greenacres - Gulf Stream - Haverhill - Highland Beach - Hypoluxo - Juno Beach - Jupiter - Jupiter Inlet Colony - Lake Clarke Shores - Lake Park - Lake Worth - Lantana - Manalapan - Mangonia Park - North Palm Beach - Ocean Ridge - Pahokee - Palm Beach - Palm Beach Gardens - Palm Beach Shores - Palm Springs - Riviera Beach - Royal Palm Beach - South Bay - South Palm Beach - Tequesta - Wellington - West Palm Beach