The following is a practical guide as to what you and your spouse will need to complete the court forms needed for filing for a divorce in Florida. Do not be overwhelmed by other divorce checklists you may see during your internet research. If you and your spouse are in general agreement with the elements of the divorce settlement such as child visitation and distribution of assets and liabilities, then divorce litigation may not be necessary and you may not want to engage attorneys.
Rather, you may what to hire a non-lawyer, such as a certified family mediator, to assist you in identifying and completing the court forms. If that is the case and there are no other complicated circumstances (such as the division of a retirement account), then the following list identifies the twenty documents and items of information that are needed for the non-lawyer you select to assist you in completing the court forms and preparing you to file the divorce petition.
1. Proof of residency. Either you or your spouse must be able to demonstrate that one of you has lived in Florida for at least six months. Residency may be proven with a current Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card, or voter’s registration card. The issue date of the document must be at least six months before the date the case is filed with the clerk of the circuit court;
2. Full and formal names of each spouse;
3. Full residential address of where each spouse is living;
4. E-mail address of each spouse;
5. Phone number of each spouse;
6. Employer’s name, address and phone number for each spouse;
7. Date of birth of each spouse;
8. Social Security Number of each spouse;
9. Date of marriage;
10. If separated, date of separation;
11. The full and formal name of each minor child;
12. The date of birth of each minor child;
13. Social Security Number of each minor child;
14. Annual total compensation of each spouse (e.g., salary, bonus, tips, etc.);
15. Gross pay rate per pay period and pay period (e.g., weekly, every other week, monthly);
16. A pay stub from each spouse will be extremely helpful in completing the financial affidavit court forms. The pay stub will indicate types and amounts of deductions from the gross pay (e.g., income tax, Medicare, insurance, employer loans, union dues, etc.);
17. Tax filing status (e.g., probably married) and number of dependents claimed by each spouse. Your employer or its payroll department would have this information. If you know the filing status and number of dependents to be claimed after the divorce it will result in more accurate financial affidavits;
18. List of ongoing monthly expenses anticipated separately by each spouse after the divorce, including credit card and loan payments, food, gasoline, automobile maintenance and children expenses (e.g., day care, clothing, lunch money and health and dental insurance);
19. A list of assets, such as automobiles, clothes, jewelry, furniture, cash, televisions, retirement accounts (name of accounts and account numbers), bank accounts (bank name, name on the accounts, and account numbers). Walk through your house and make a list. Estimate the value of each asset and be realistic. Identify any assets that you believe belong to you only and should not be divided (e.g., nonmarital asset). As stated in the financial affidavit court form, typically you will only list an asset as nonmarital if it was owned by one spouse before the marriage. Section 61.075(1) of the Florida Statutes defines marital and nonmarital assets.
20. A list of liabilities, such as the balances of credit cards, automobile loans, mortgages, employer loans, etc. Be specific and identify lenders’ names and account numbers. Identify any liabilities that you believe belong to you only and should not be divided (e.g., nonmarital liability).