The Final Document or pleading in a Florida Divorce Case is the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or “Final Judgment” This is the Order from the Judge granting the divorce and solving the Divorce issues of Parental Responsibility, Equitable Distribution, Alimony, Child Support, and Attorneys Fees.
Final Judgment in a Settled Divorce
In a divorce case with a settlement, the Final Judgment is usually boilerplate. In it the Judge “finds” that the Court has jurisdiction, there are irreconcilable differences between the parties, and if applicable the Judge restores the Wife’s maiden name.
The Judge must find that the settlement agreement was done freely and voluntarily, that fair disclosure was done, and that the parenting plan (if applicable) is in the best interests of the children.
The Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan (if applicable) are incorporated into the Final Judgment.
Contested Case: Final Judgment At Trial
A Final Judgment after a divorce trial is much more intensive. This is a Judgment drafted by the Judge that will articulate the Judges findings in the case. Often the Judge will have both attorneys draft their respective proposed Final Judgments after trial and submit to the Judge, who will pick one and work off of it to create his or her Final Judgment.
These Final Judgments are much much longer than the settlement Final Judgment. Not only doe the Judge have to make a decision as to every issue in the case, but the Judge must also explain “why” the Judge came to that decision. Final Judgments after trial are often between 15 and 30 pages, and can take weeks (or longer) to get back from the Judge.