Despite the sunny weather and boundless leisure activities, Florida is not insulated from the high divorce rate across the country. Whether you live in Miami or Tallahassee, the following article provides the basics of divorce for Florida residents.
Grounds for Divorce
Florida calls divorce a "dissolution of marriage." Florida is a "no fault" divorce state, which means that spouses only need to tell a court that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" in order to get a divorce. Some other states call this "irreconcilable differences." In this case, either spouse may file for the dissolution of marriage.
At least one spouse must be a Florida resident for at least six months before filing for a dissolution of marriage. If neither spouse meets the residency requirement, legal separation is an option in the meantime.
Dissolution of Marriage Process
Normally, a dissolution of marriage begins with a petition which states that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and describes what the petitioner would like from the court. The other spouse will file an Answer, which gives the second spouse the opportunity to reply to the petition.
Some spouses will agree on basic divorce issues, like separating propert, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If this is the case, the spouses will also submit a written agreement to the court. If the spouses agree on all terms of the divorce, the divorce may be final in only a few weeks. If the spouses do not agree on issues, the divorce may end in a trial.
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Some Floridians may end their marriage in a simplified procedure, called a simplified dissolution of marriage. It is available for spouses if:
Dividing Property in Florida
Florida is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that courts will divide property in a way it believes to be fair, which is not necessarily an equal split. Some of the factors a court will consider are:
Depending on the spouses' separate incomes, one spouse may owe the other spousal support, also known as alimony. When deciding to award alimony, and how much, a court will consider a number of factors, including:
Child custody and child support are common issues for parents facing divorce. Given the complexity of those issues, we have articles written specifically for Florida parents. Generally speaking, child custody is granted based on what is in the best interest of the child. Child support is calculated based on the income of both parents
If you would like to know more about your rights in a divorce, and want to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process, there are many divorce attorneys throughout Florida who may be able to help.
Contact a qualified attorney.