Grounds for Divorce in Florida
Living in Florida is a goal for millions of people across the country. While many people move here for retirement, others move here to escape the extreme winter conditions most of the country deals with each year. Not all problems will be escapable in the Sunshine State, including divorce. Dissolving a marriage is a serious matter that should be done with a lot of thought and consideration.
The Florida Grounds for Divorce
The state of Florida is known as a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce. This means that you do not need to show why you want to get divorced, only that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” In other states, such as Alabama or Georgia, you can allege “grounds” for a divorce, based on something like adultery or abandonment. In Florida, there is no need for you to prove that your spouse cheated, was abusing you, is abusing drugs or alcohol or that they have abandoned you.
Aside from “no-fault”, there is another rarely-used option for filing for divorce in Florida. One spouse may file for dissolution of marriage based on the claim that the other spouse is mentally incapacitated. There are very strict guidelines that must be met to file based on mental incapacitation, and you should not take this route without first speaking with an experienced family law attorney.
Requirements for Filing in Florida
Florida law requires that at least one spouse is a resident of the state and has been a resident for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Should neither you or your spouse be a legal resident of Florida for at least six months, you must wait until you hit the six-month threshold before filing. All in the meantime, you and your spouse can separate, although there is no formal system of a legal separation in the Sunshine State.
The Simplified Dissolution of Marriage in Florida
There is a process in Florida known as the simplified dissolution of marriage. This process is only available if the following has been met:
- Both spouses agree to use this process for divorce;
- There are no minor children or dependent children;
- There are no adopted children who are minors;
- The woman is not pregnant;
- At least one spouse has lived in the state for at least six months;
- Both spouses have come to an agreement on the division of assets and debt;
- Both spouses agree that the marriage is broken beyond repair.
The Process for Dissolving a Marriage in Florida
There is a set process in place for the dissolution of a marriage for those living in Florida. It all begins with a petition that expressly states that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The petition must also include what it is the petitioner wants from the court in the divorce. The other spouse has an opportunity to respond to the petition by filing an answer.
It is not uncommon for some of the spouses involved in a divorce to agree to common issues; such as child support, dividing property, spousal support, child custody and other important matters. If both spouses can agree on these issues, they must submit an agreement in writing to the court. This might lead the divorce to be completed in relatively short period of time. Should the spouses have trouble coming to an agreement one or more of the aforementioned issues, the process could drag on for a while and even end up with a court trial.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
Are you contemplating divorce in Florida? Have you already told your spouse it’s time to end the marriage? If so, it is important that you speak with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. You will want to work with an attorney who is compassionate, caring, honest, thorough and knows how to explain and successfully handle complex legal matters. Call the team of Smith & McGhee at 334-702-1744 today to schedule a consultation about your case. You may also send us a message through our online contact form. The sooner you contact us for an appointment, the sooner you can begin the process and move on with your life.