Contested and Uncontested: Basic Options For Divorcing Couples

In Florida, divorcing couples have two basic options: a contested and uncontested divorce. Each has its own set of timelines, prerequisites, and associated legal costs.

Choosing the right option for you can significantly impact your outcome. Consider an uncontested divorce if you want a smoother, more stress-free one.

Divorce Agreements

In an uncontested divorce, all matters about the separation and dissolution of the marriage are agreed upon by both parties. This type of divorce is typically quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.

Generally, the issues in an uncontested divorce Tampa include custody, visitation, child support, alimony, and property division. However, the terms of the agreement may vary depending on various factors.

The best way to ensure your rights are protected is to hire an experienced divorce attorney who can assist you in preparing a comprehensive marital settlement agreement. It is the master document that sets out all the terms of your divorce settlement and must be approved by a judge before your divorce can be finalized.

Child Custody

Regarding divorce, child custody is one of the most critical issues. Parents need to work closely with an experienced lawyer to develop a custody plan that is in the best interests of their children.

When parents create a child custody agreement, they can settle their differences without going to court. The court’s decision depends on various factors if the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan to assess what is best for the child.

The judge will also consider time-sharing, a term often used interchangeably with “custody.” It is the amount of time each parent spends with their child. It’s based on the parent’s income and resources. It considers health insurance costs, childcare costs, school and extracurricular activities, and daycare fees.

Child Support

A parent’s child support obligations depend on their income, custody (now known as time-sharing) rights and the number of children involved in the case. Judges generally follow Florida Child Support Guidelines when determining child support.

When the court deviates from these guidelines, it must submit a written explanation of its decision. They also must consider factors such as extraordinary healthcare expenses, seasonal variations in a parent’s income or costs, and terms of a shared parental arrangement.

Parents who miss child support payments may be subject to severe legal repercussions. The law also provides for retroactive child support, which extends back up to 24 months for cases involving paternity.


One spouse may get alimony and financial support during or after a divorce. It can be awarded in a variety of situations, including if the recipient spouse has stayed out of the workforce during the marriage to raise their children, if earnings abilities are vastly different after a long marriage, or if there was a severe change in a spouse’s health that prevented them from working during the marriage. There are several types of alimony, including bridge-the-gap, durational, rehabilitative, and permanent alimony. These different forms of maintenance all have their specific end dates.

Property Division

A couple may apply for an uncontested divorce if they can agree on all aspects of the divorce, including property distribution, alimony, and child support. It is often considered the preferred route because it involves a more cost-effective and time-efficient process. The first step in determining property division is categorizing assets as marital or separate. Anything obtained during a marriage through pooled resources or work is considered marital property. Non-marital property, on the other hand, is everything a spouse owned before the marriage. It includes gifts, inheritances, and income from separate property. When a divorce occurs, all marital property will be valued to determine its value and what each spouse should receive in a settlement. It can be a complicated process, especially when many assets are involved in the case.