Learn how to fill out Form 12.901b1, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children, with our do-it-yourself step by step instructions and helpful explanations.
Florida's Divorce with Children Procedure starts with this petition... Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.901(b)(1).
Relying on years of experience helping Pro Se filers fill out these forms, we make these instructions simple to follow and easy to use.
Most people filing for a Florida Divorce with Children will be able to fill out all their forms by using just this page as their guide.
So your first instruction is to... bookmark this page!
Ready to begin?
Great, just download the form and open it in a new tab or window.
As with all of these forms, you will need to satisfy the filing requirements in order to use this form.
The first page of this forms' instructions state when you can use Form 12.901b1.
If you have no children together and the wife is not pregnant, this is not the divorce form for you.
Instead, you may be able to file one of
the other divorce forms.
The easiest way to get your forms filled out correctly and efficiently is to start with the petition first.
We recommend having copies of the supporting forms you will need to file with your petition handy.
See the box at the bottom of this page for the list of these forms. You can download the supporting forms from there.
Fill out the top portion of the form, known as the style, caption, or heading.
This form was never updated by the courts to be computer fillable. So write legibly in ALL CAPS with black ink.
can purchase our enhaced PDF fillable form 12.901b1 if you like the
convenience of filling out this form on your computer. See the box below.
Your heading should be entered exactly the same for all of the supporting forms that you will file.
The circuit is the judicial circuit of the county you are filing your paperwork. To find out which judicial circuit your county is in, you can check here.
The county is the county where you file with the Clerk of the Court. Usually this is the county where at least one of you currently live.
The case number and division should be left blank for the clerk to assign. Once the divorce papers are filed and the case number is assigned, all the supporting forms should have the case number and division filled out the same way.
Your names are your full legal names. Usually this means your name as it appears in your state or federally issued ID (ie. your driver's license, passport, marriage certificate, etc.)
Fill in your name as above and check the box for either husband or wife.
Since you are the one filing the petition, you will be referred to as the Petitioner and your spouse will be the Respondent. This will be important when you are filling out the supporting forms.
Most of the paragraphs (symbolized here with ¶) are self explanatory.
However, some parts of these forms
can be confusing. Where appropriate, we try to make it clear.
¶ 1. This is the Residency requirement. Check the box that applies.
¶ 2. Military service includes active reserves. Retired military does not count as active. Check the boxes that apply.
¶ 3. Write the date you were married. Also write the day you separated, and check the box if you are not sure of the date.
¶ 4. a) Check the box if the wife is pregnant and write the due date.
b) Check the box in part b. only if you have children together that are under the age of 18. Enter the names and date of birth fear each child, one child per line.
The phrase common children means that you are both the biological or legal parents. This also means children you have had together before you were married.
Children that were born from another marriage and were not adopted by the stepparent are not listed here.
c) Check if there are children born during the marriage but from another father. The husband is not the biological father.
List the names and birth dates of the children and the names and addresses of the father(s) on the next line.
d) Check if you have common children who are 18 and older but are still dependent due to disability. List their names and birth dates.
¶ 5. Check the box for your (the Petitioner) Financial Affidavit filed or not filed. Although you can file this form after you file your petition, we recommend that you file it with the petition if you can.
6. Statement. You must file the UCCJEA Form 12.902d when you file this
petition. This form is available in the Supporting Forms Downloads box at the bottom of this page.
7. Statement. You must file the Notice of Social Security Number Form
12.902j when you file this petition. Also available in the downloads box
¶ 8. This is the Grounds for Divorce requirement. Check the box if you believe the marriage cannot be saved (irretrievably broken). Or check the box if the grounds are for mental incapacitation with adjudication over 3 years.
TIP: We have an improved Form 12.901b1 with errors fixed, short blanks
lengthened, and fillable on your computer. See the box above for our Premium PDF Form.
¶ 1. Check here if there are no assets or liabilities to divide and move on to Section II.
¶ 2. Check here if you do have marital assets and liabilities. These should be included in your Financial Affidavit Form available in the Supporting Forms Download box found at the end of this page.
a) If you have agreed on how to split your assets & liabilities and filled out a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) you can check here. If at all possible, we recommend that you do this.
b) If you have not reached an agreement and prefer that the court determines how to divide the financial assets and liabilities, check here.
See section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes for more information on the equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities.
c) Check here if you are asking the court to order an interest in one or more of your spouse's non-marital assets. You must provide a reason for this request.
TIP: Many of these sections require a skilled level of understanding. You should seek free or low cost legal consultations to discuss these areas of the law.
We recommend that you consult a local attorney to go over your options. If you need to find one that offers free or low cost consultations, use this free lawyer referral service.
¶ 1. Check here if you are not seeking alimony from your spouse and move on to Section III.
¶ 2. This is where you ask for alimony.
Enter the amount of support you are requesting, how often this amount should be paid, and the date you are requesting these payments to start.
You must sate the reasons why you are seeking alimony and that your spouse has the ability to pay.
¶ 3. Optional. State any other request in regards to the alimony you are seeking here, such as income tax treatment of the payments.
¶ 4.This is where you request that life insurance be maintained to safeguard the alimony payments.
NOTE: Alimony is a very technical part of the law, and you should seek legal advice even if you plan on filing Pro Se. See the referral recommendation we made above.
¶ 1. Residence. State here with whom the children are currently living.
¶ 2. Parental Responsibility. This means in large part the decision making authority for the children. Such as school and religious activities, medical decisions, and other activities such as boy's and girl scouts, soccer, little league, etc.
TIP: For more information on Parental
Responsibility and Parenting Plan Guidelines, see this excellent
publication by the Florida Family Law Advisory Group and the Eighth
Judicial Circuit here.
You can choose shared responsibility or sole responsibility.
you are asking for sole responsibility, you must state your reasons for
doing so and why it is in the children's best interest.
¶ 3. Parenting Plan & Time Sharing. If you are requesting that a time-sharing schedule be included in the parenting plan, check the includes box.
a) Select this box if you are including a parenting plan.
We highly recommend that you include your Parenting Plan with the filing of your divorce petition. You can download this form in the Supporting Forms box below.
If you have agreed on your parenting plan, and both of you have signed it, select the have box. Otherwise, select the have not box.
b) Use this section if you prefer that the court establish your parenting plan and time-sharing schedule. Check all the boxes that apply.
¶ 4. This is where you get to state your reasons why the parenting plan AND the time-sharing schedule proposed is in the best interests of the children.
More than anything else in your divorce petition, these sections where you get to state your reasons are your opportunity to make your case. Use these wisely.
TIP: For more information on determining the Best Interest of children and guiding principles, see this excellent publication by the Child Welfare Information Gateway here.
The Child Support Guidelines Form and Worksheet is available in the downloads box at the end of this page.
¶ 1. Check here if you want child support ordered per the Child Support Guidelines. Check the appropriate box.
You will need to file a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. This is usually done after you have received your spouse's Financial Disclosure. So most people file the worksheet some time after the initial filing of the divorce petition.
a-c) You should also indicate from when child support should be ordered retroactively. Check the appropriate boxes.
¶ 2. If you are requesting that child support be paid beyond the age of 18, check the appropriate box and explain if needed.
Current law allows for child support beyond the age of emancipation under the following circumstances:
¶ 3. If you are requesting a child support amount that exceeds or is less than that prescribed by the child support worksheet, you must file a Motion to Deviate Form 12.943 (find link in the Supporting Forms box below).
¶ 4. Here is where you choose who will provide the medical and dental insurance for the children. Check the box that applies.
5. For medical expenses not covered by insurance including deductibles,
you can have the court order how these are paid for. Check the box that
applies. Our premium form provides a space for you to elaborate.
¶ 6. Here you can request that life insurance be ordered to cover child support paid by the spouse who pays the support.
¶ 1. If your are the wife, and would like to have your name changed back to your maiden name or your former name, check this box and enter the full legal name here.
¶ 2. If there is a request you would like the court to order as part of the final judgment, this is where you would enter it.
Check the boxes for all sections that apply.
¶ 1. Assets & Liabilities, Section I
¶ 2. Spousal Support (Alimony), Section II
¶ 3. Parenting Plan & Time-sharing, Section III
¶ 4. Child Support, Section IV
¶ 5. Restoring Former Name, Section V
¶ 6. Other Relief, Section V
This section is self explanatory. Fill out your name, address, and contact information but DO NOT sign until you are in the clerks office filing your paperwork.
The Deputy Clerk or a Notary Public will witness your signature for a fee.
TIP: You can save a few dollars by having your documents notarized by your local bank. Many banks offer free or minimal cost notary services for their account holders.
After completing Form 12.901(b)(1), you will need to fill out the supporting forms as well.
You should fill out all the forms you plan on using in your divorce even if you can only partially fill them out for now (such as the Child Support Worksheet).
You should fill out your Marital Settlement Agreement, the Parenting Plan, and the Financial Disclosure form. Always make copies for your records.
Do Not sign the forms until you are at the clerk of the court filing
your papers or having them notarized. Your signatures must be witnessed
by the deputy clerk or a Notary Public.
Your divorce petition and the supporting forms must be properly served on your spouse.
You will need to have the papers delivered by the sheriff in the county where he or she lives. This is called Personal Service.
If you do not know where they are currently living, you may need to use the process called Constructive Service.
If your spouse is willing to sign a waiver of process form, they may save the embarrassment of having the sheriff show up at their door or place of work.
We have a fully fillable Waiver of Process form for instant download for $2.00 • Buy Now.
Bring all of your completed forms to the clerk of the circuit court in the county where you live. For a listing of the circuit courts, their locations, and contact info click here.
You must also bring valid ID with proof of residency for the past 6 months. If your ID is less than 6 months old, you may need to bring some other proof of residency. If you cannot satisfy the 6 month residency requirement, you will need to bring an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness signed and notarized.
You will need to pay the filing fee to the clerk of the court when you file your paperwork. In most circuits the Filing Fee is $409. The fees vary slightly from circuit to circuit and even by county. Call the clerks office in your county to find out the current fee.
TIP: If you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, you will need to fill out and file the Application for Civil Indigent. Some circuits have payment plans. The clerk will determine your eligibility.
After all your papers have been filed, the filing fees paid, and your spouse has been served, you will need to contact the clerk again after 20 days to see if an answer has been filed by your spouse.
Follow the Case Progression Instructions in the box below.
TIP: If your case is uncontested, have your spouse sign and notarize the Answer, Waiver, and Request for Copy of Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage Form 12.903(a) and bring this to the clerk of court to file with your petition.
Before your case can be scheduled for the final hearing you must also complete a state approved Parenting Course.
Once you file the certificate of completion with the clerk, you can then schedule the final hearing.
For the complete listing of eligible parenting courses in your county, click here.
Our Petition Preparer Paralegal Service can have all your documents professionally prepared after a brief interview with our trained Florida Legal Document Specialists.
Your court papers will be in your hands and ready to file at the courthouse in as little as three days! We guarantee our work. Just ask us for a quote.