On this page you will find information to answer most questions about the process of a divorce by publication in Florida.
You can start this divorce process online with us if you think your circumstances meet the requirements outlined below.
The Most Frequent Questions About Divorce by Publication in Florida are:
- What are the requirements?
- How long will it take?
- When can you use it? Can you get divorced by publication if you have children?
- Costs of doing your divorce by publication
- How to avoid having to use the publication process in a divorce
- Getting a Florida Divorce by Publication Online
A divorce by publication in Florida refers to the process of getting a divorce when you don’t know where your spouse is living. Some people refer to this type of divorce as a missing spouse divorce. If you can’t find your spouse so that they can be served with the divorce papers, or so that you can communicate with them to do an uncontested divorce, this is the process you will have to use.
For a divorce when your spouse lives outside the State (in another state in the US), but you know their address, this would not be the process to use. Instead, you would use the regular divorce process that involves serving them with the divorce papers–assuming they’re not willing to sign the papers required to do an uncontested divorce.
You can use a divorce by publication even if you have children of the marriage.
As a general rule, Florida law requires that a marriage be irretrievably broken in order to get a divorce. In a case where you don’t know the whereabouts of your spouse, you can assume that your marriage is irretrievably broken and so you can file for divorce.
Requirements for a Divorce by Publication in Florida
You can use the process of a Florida divorce by publication if the following two main requirements are met:
- Residency requirement: You have lived in Florida for at least 6 months before the filing of the divorce in court.
- Location of Spouse: You don’t know where your spouse is living AND you have tried to find them by contacting relatives and friends, checking on Facebook and other social media sites that you know they might have been using.
I don’t list the requirement of the marriage being broken since I already mentioned above that this can be taken as given in these cases.
A divorce by publication is essentially an uncontested divorce if your spouse is not found. However, there are additional steps to take that are not part of a regular uncontested Florida divorce, such as publishing the fact that the divorce has been filed, searching for the spouse to prove to the Court that an effort has been made to locate the spouse and provide them notice of the filing of the divorce.
How long will it take?
The timeline to get your divorce done when using publication will be approximately 6 to 8 weeks from the date of filing. The reason for this is that the statute providing for publication requires that publication of the filing of the divorce case be at least once for four (4) weeks, so there is no way to shorten that timeline.
This time frame should be kept in mind if you’re planning to remarry once your divorce if final and think you will have to use this process. It is probably better dissolve your first marriage before setting a wedding date that might have to be postponed because of legal deadline.
When can you use it? Can you use it with children?
If you have lived in Florida and don’t know the whereabouts of your spouse even after trying to find him, and you have lived in Florida for at least six (6) months you can use this process.
You can get a divorce by publication if you have children so long as the children have been living with you in Florida. If the children have been living in another state for any reason, then you still can get a divorce, but the Court will not have jurisdiction to decide issues related to the children.
Cost of a divorce by publication
When doing a divorce by publication, you will pay the regular filing fee and, in addition, the cost of publication in a newspaper. There are additional small fees that you may have to pay to the agencies from which you must obtain information about your spouse.
As for attorney’s fees for a divorce by publication in Florida, we charge a flat fee for the entire process; and we take care of it for you from beginning to end.
How to avoid having to use the process of a divorce by publication
The easiest way to avoid having to do your divorce using publication is to get your divorce done as soon as you realize that your marriage is broken and there is no possibility for reconciliation. Some parts of Florida, like Miami, where I practice, have a large transient population because of immigration. People come to start a new life, either as single persons who get married here or as couples, then they separate and one of them moves away. It’s easy to lose touch, especially when there are no children from the marriage. So the best time to get the divorce done is before that happens.
Florida Divorce by Publication Online
There is no county in Florida where you can get a divorce online. What the internet offers you is for you to do your divorce documents online and then go to court on your own to get the divorce processed. What you can do is start the process online, and this is true when you need to do your divorce by publication.
If you want to start your divorce by publication without having to waste time and money with appointments, my office will start the process completely online and via telephone. On the date of the divorce hearing, you meet at the courthouse to get it done.
It’s a simple process of
- Contacting me using this form – check your email (including the spam folder)to confirm that you want me to call you;
- Speaking with me so that I can answer any questions you may have and so that I can determine if your divorce qualifies for this process;
- Returning the documents that I send you ; and
- Meeting me at the courthouse for the hearing.
This process will work for you if
- your circumstances meet the requirements for a divorce by publication in Florida, and
- you feel comfortable using email and the telephone to transact business and get things done.
This online process will NOT work for you if
- you know where your spouse is but don’t want to let them know about the divorce, or
- you don’t feel comfortable using email or phone and need face-to-face meetings.