Final Divorce Hearing Attendance

by Jonnie from Holiday, Florida, Pasco County

I am divorcing but will move out of state in 2 months. Is it absolutely necessary for me to attend the final hearing once I file for divorce.

I am moving out of state and don't know if I have enough time for the final hearing.

Is there a form I can use to be in abstentia and complete my divorce.

I am not even certain where or who he is staying with. I have a restraining order against him.

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Jonnie,

The unfortunate answer for your situation is that, no, you must attend your final hearing.

As the Petitioner, you must attend the hearing or the case may be thrown out.

If you are not the petitioner then there is no requirement for you to attend.

However, it is in your best interest to attend or it is likely that your husband will get all or most of what he is petitioning the court to receive.

Do not let this answer discourage you though. There are other options available to you.

The first option is to fill out and file a Motion for Telephonic Hearing. Under this option, you can attend the hearing without being physically at the hearing, but via telephone instead.

A second option is to file for a continuance (a postponement of a court date) if your hearing date has already been set. Standard Legal publishes this professionally prepared Motion for Continuance

Another option that may be available to you is to contact the clerk’s office or the judge's assistant and see if there is anything they will do to accommodate your situation. They may be able to schedule your Final Hearing at a convenient time for you.

For example, the clerk’s
office could work with you to move the hearing date, to appear early and give testimony for use at the final hearing, or allowing you to appear by telephone as mentioned above. It is possible to get the hearing moved sooner if circumstances exist and a judge will approve the request.

Since you have no idea where your husband is currently living, it is unlikely that you will be able to serve him the divorce papers, let alone a motion of hearing. Did you have him served with the divorce petition yet? If not, you will need to serve him through the "constructive service" process.

Generally, this means running an ad in a local paper where the divorce is being filed and using a list of search options. Then filing an affidavit that you searched for him in good faith. Without an answer from your spouse, you would have to file the correct forms (motion to default and a default judgment) to obtain a default divorce judgement.

Jonnie, there are just too many open questions about your divorce situation to give you a direct answer. My suggestion is to try the Court Clerk first to see if your hearing can be scheduled for a convenient court date where you can attend.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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Comments for Final Divorce Hearing Attendance

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Filing for Divorce From Prison
by: Anonymous

My husband wants to divorce me from prison. How would he do it. What will be the best way for him to go about the situation?

--My suggestion is for you to file an uncontested divorce and have him served with the divorce papers in prison. He can then sign an Answer & Waiver and send it back to you to file in court. Take a look at this Florida Divorce FAQ page titled Divorcing an Out of State Inmate. It is an answer we posted to a very similar divorce question. --Staff

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