Instead of simply contemplating divorce, you are now ready to make it a reality. The question is, though, where do you start?

Divorce is a multi-step process that can understandably be confusing and overwhelming. Here is a look at what steps you need to take to complete the marital breakup process in Florida.

Filing the divorce paperwork

The first step in getting a divorce is filing the necessary marital dissolution forms in your county. This you can do only if both you and the other party have lived in the country for a minimum of six months. If you are the one filing the divorce paperwork, you are the petitioner, whereas the other party is the respondent. Your divorce petition needs to address how you would like to handle matters such as property and debt division, child custody, child support and alimony.

Serving the divorce paperwork

Once you have filed your marital dissolution forms, you must serve your court petition on the other party. This you can do by having a county sheriff give your future ex the divorce papers, for example. Professional process servers are also available to complete this task. In any event, you cannot simply mail your paperwork to your spouse or leave it at his or her doorstep.

Addressing finances and custody

Following the serving of your divorce paperwork, you have 45 days to give your soon-to-be ex a signed affidavit that details your financial liabilities and assets. This information is available on such documents as credit card statements, bank statements and tax returns. In addition, you will need to complete and file a worksheet regarding child support guidelines if you and your spouse have minor children together. This you must do prior to your first hearing addressing child support.

Final hearing

If you and the other party agree on the majority of divorce issues, you can both sign an agreement that reflects the divorce terms of which you both approve. However, if you and your future ex still have disputes about certain matters, a final hearing is necessary. A judge will determine the outcome of your contested issues before issuing a final ruling on your divorce. In this situation, it is within your rights to pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible given the circumstances surrounding your marital breakup.