Dissolution of Marriage During COVID
COVID has and is affecting the way we live our everyday lives. It seems there is no area left untouched by one regulation or another, and Family Court in Florida is no exception. For those couples who are seeking dissolution of marriage (divorce), there have been significant changes in the way things are done in order to complete the process of dissolution.
The main thing to be aware of regarding a dissolution hearing is that as of May 21, 2020, an issue was ordered by the Supreme Court of Florida termed the Administrative Order AOSC20-23 Amendment 2. This amendment is in regards to Comprehensive COVID 19 Emergency Measures for the Florida State Court. The amendment includes several important issues for those beginning or in the process of obtaining a dissolution of marriage.
- Hearings with the court will continue to be handled virtually, no longer in person. All hearings will be done using virtual technology, including such platforms as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. While you can’t be there in person, you will still be able to see other persons involved in your case and be seen by those persons.
- There will be a prompt box on the platform at the very beginning, and you will be required to enter your full, given name with no nicknames. This is how the court will recognize you.
- Notarizing most documents will no longer be required except for Dissolution of Marriage forms 12.902(f)(1), for Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children, form 12.902(f)(2) Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Property but No Dependent or Minor Children, and form 12.902(f)(3) Marital Settlement Agreement for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. Any family law forms which transfer the ownership of property must also be notarized. Notarization must take place in person before a deputy clerk before the filing.
- On forms that no longer need to be notarized, before the signature line, there will be the statement “Under penalty of perjury, I declare I have read this statement, and the facts stated in it are true.”
- It is helpful to review with your attorney all procedures to be followed during your virtual hearing. Additionally, you can go online and download the virtual platform you will be using to avoid glitches that might exist and to familiarize yourself with using virtual conferencing.
- A word of caution: just because you won’t be in a courtroom, you will be seen by all who will be a part of the court proceedings. For this reason, you still need to dress appropriately and present a neat and composed appearance. Be sure to watch your language and emotions as these factors can influence a judge’s decision, even online.
As State guidelines for dissolution of marriage continue to come under review, it is wise to consult a Family Law attorney for the latest pronouncements regarding how COVID19 affects how cases are to be handled. For persons living in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida or New York or Washington DC Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo is well versed in answering your questions. He offers a free, in-office, initial consultation to help you sort out your concerns and share how he can help. You can call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM, for new clients.