All family matters can be filed as contested, meaning that a Petition is filed with the Court which lays out provisions of what the Petitioner would request if the Court were to determine the outcome. The Petition is served on the Respondent by a process server. There are deadlines when an Answer is required. Mandatory discovery (exchange of financial information) deadlines are set by the Florida Family Rules of Procedure. In Hillsborough County, a Case Management Conference is automatically scheduled by the Court, so that the Judge can keep track of the progression of the case. This is not a final hearing date. In Hillsborough County, Mediation is required before Final or Temporary Relief hearings can be scheduled before the Court.
An uncontested case is where the parties are able to enter a full settlement agreement regarding all issues before the case is filed. The parties can discuss the terms and reach a settlement on their own, and I can prepare the settlement agreement and all necessary documents to file with the Court. In the alternative, a client will come to me to discuss and prepare a proposal for full settlement. Once the documents are fully executed, I would file all pleadings, prepare the Final Judgment and schedule the uncontested hearing. Only one party would need to appear for the 5-minute uncontested final hearing. A Wife requesting that her former name be restored would be required to attend the hearing. An uncontested case is the fastest and least expensive way to resolve the case.