In the midst of a divorce there are many words you have not heard before, have heard and not given much thought to or believe you know their definition but in reality do not. Here is a list of our top 10 vocabulary words for Florida Divorces.
1. Uncontested Divorce: A divorce where everyone agrees on all of the issues; an agreement to get divorced AND all parenting issues, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, and everything else involved in a divorce.
2. No-Fault Divorce: FL is a no fault divorce state, which means that neither party has to have an basis for the divorce. The basis is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Other State's require you to state grounds for the divorce such as abandonment.
3. Petitioner: The person who files 1st. There is no benefit of a person filing first in FL.
4. Respondent: The person who did not file first in the divorce. This person gets "served" with the Petition and must file an answer. Typically they file a counter-petition.
5. Service: A Petition gets filed with a Summons (an official notice that there is a legal proceeding pending). The Summons, with the Petition, must get delivered with very strict requirements to the Respondent, this is called service.
6. Petition: The document which lays out what the proceeding is about and what the Petitioner is looking to accomplish. Frequently this asks for things in excess of what the petitioner expects to get. This is because for the Court to Order something, that something MUST have been asked for.
7. Answer: A response to the Petition or Counter-Petition is called an Answer. This admits or denies each request/allegation in the Petition.
8. Default: If a person is served with a Petition and fails to file an Answer, a default judgment can be entered against them. If you have been served and do not answer, it is assumed that you agree with the requests in the Petition.
9. Jurisdiction: The right of a State to make decisions regarding a certain issue. Example - Florida's right to deal with issues pertaining to a divorce. This is called jurisdiction. FL has jurisdiction to divorce someone once they have been a resident for 6 months. FL has the right to deal with custody issues if they meet the requirements of the UCCJEA.
10. UCCJEA: Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act has been adopted by 49 States, DC, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. It governs which state has jurisdiction over children issues and dictates the process for resolution of jurisdiction disputes. In every case involving children the participants (Petitioner and Respondent) must file an affidavit which complies with this act.