The Basics of Florida Divorce Law

Deciding whether to file for dissolution of marriage, or a divorce, is sometimes a difficult process. This article is designed to provide you with the basics toward understanding divorce law in Florida.

Residency Requirement/Jurisdiction

Any person who wants to file for dissolution of marriage in Florida has to be able to prove that at least one party to the marriage has lived within the state of Florida for at least six months prior to the date of the filing. In addition, the petition for dissolution needs to be filed with the circuit court of the county where either party to the marriage resides. This is considered the residency requirement and allows the court to hear and rule on your case. (Florida Statutes, Sections 61.021 and 61.043).

Basis for Divorce – Florida is a “No Fault” State

In Florida, there are two legal grounds on which to grant a divorce. One basis for a divorce is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” (Florida Statutes, Section 61.052). In other words, a person seeking a divorce does not need to prove any reason for the divorce, such as abuse or infidelity, other than the parties to the marriage no longer wish to be married and the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This means that Florida is a “no fault” state; to obtain a divorce in Florida you do not need to prove the other party’s fault in bringing the marriage to its demise.

The other basis for a divorce in Florida is the mental incapacity of one of the parties to the marriage. (Florida Statutes, Section 61.052).

Division of Property

Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning the property of the couple is divided among the parties equitably and according to the financial needs and positions of the parties. (Florida Statutes, Section 61.075). (Florida is not a community property state, like California, where the property gained during the marriage, including assets and debts are divided equally or 50/50 between the parties).

Alimony or Spousal Support

As part of the divorce process, the court will determine whether one party should pay alimony or spousal support to the other party. The court can order alimony be paid to either party. The court can order periodic payments, a one-time lump sum payment, or any combination of the two. The court will determine the needs of the parties and the parties’ ability to pay alimony. In addition, in determining whether to grant alimony and in what amount and duration, the court will consider a variety of factors and circumstances.

Speak with a Family Law Attorney Now

If you are considering a divorce, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney, such as those at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Our Tampa attorneys, Daniel B. Bubley and Martin A. Bubley, have over 20 years each handling a variety of family law cases. Because the resolution of your divorce will be highly dependent on the facts and situations at issue in your case, and family law procedure is complex, you should consult with us and let us guide you through your divorce. We understand that a divorce can be a very stressful and emotional process, and we are here to help you.

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