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The ins and outs of a Florida divorce

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2022 | Divorce, Family Law |

If you are divorcing in Florida, the state calls it a, “dissolution of marriage.” Getting a divorce is rarely a quick, uncomplicated matter in Florida. There are many laws and state-specific statutes. It is imperative that you understand the rules and the forms that you must complete as part of the process.

You may try to do it yourself but it may be advisable that you consult a Florida divorce lawyer, who can walk you through the process so that it doesn’t feel so daunting as you are going through it.

What are considered grounds for divorce in Florida?

In the past, most of the states in the United States required that one person was considered at fault, such as abandonment, cruelty, or infidelity. In 1971, Florida became a no-fault state after the Dissolution of Marriage Act was passed. Presently, fault is legally irrelevant in most divorces.

What is involved in a no-fault dissolution of marriage?

In Florida, there are two ways in which a no-fault dissolution of marriage will be granted:

  1. The marriage is broken and cannot be fixed: In this case, according to Florida law, the spouses cannot fix their issues and they are no longer able to live together. In other states, that is called, “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility.”
  2. One of the spouses is incapacitated (mentally): Incapacitation is something that must be proven  in Florida. The court will have to determine incapacitation at least three years before the divorce process begins. A court-appointed advocate must protect and defend the person who is allegedly mentally incapacitated during the divorce process.

Is Florida residency a requirement for the divorce to be granted?

Most states in the United States require the couple to be residents of the state in which they are seeking a divorce and Florida is no exception to that. In Florida, at least one of the two people must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months before submitting the papers for the divorce. It is a relatively easy process for the person to prove residency: Florida driver’s license, voter registration identification card, or another person’s testimony that states that the person has lived in Florida for at least six months.

How do I file for divorce?

The two types of dissolution of marriage are: regular and simplified. The forms for each are different and the process in each case is clearly outlined in the forms. The first thing that you should do is figure out which type of dissolution of marriage works for you.

Simplified process

This is less expensive and it only works if the situation between the spouses is not complicated or hostile. To be able to go through the simplified process, both people must be amenable to how they will divide up their marital property and their collective debt. They must also both agree to no court, no appeals and no alimony. Additionally, the simplified process is not an option if there are minor children or if there is a pregnancy. If the couple can meet all of those criteria, they both sign a document called “petition for simplified dissolution” and they must both go to a final divorce hearing together.

Regular process

With the regular process, there are more forms to fill out, including a form for dissolving the marriage that includes children (if applicable), a form for spouses without children and a form for dissolving the marriage without children and without joint property. Beyond that, the couple is not required to agree to anything else. If the spouse who receives the divorce papers agrees to the terms, the divorce is considered uncontested. In that case, a date for the final hearing can be scheduled. If the spouse does not agree to something in the papers, they have 20 days to respond.

There is also a financial affidavit that must be completed within 45 days of the papers being served to the other spouse. If children are involved, the parents must file a child support worksheet as well so that the court can determine the appropriate child support.

Solid support of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer

If you have decided to divorce your spouse in Florida, you may have already figured out that the process can become rather complicated. In that case, the legal support of a Florida divorce lawyer may make your situation much easier. It is essential that you protect your rights and the rights of your children (if applicable). The divorce attorney can help you to understand the process and can lend support at every step.