Florida has the 4th highest divorce rate in the nation according to official statistics. Divorce is very common in the Sunshine State, but not many people understand the legal process. At The Berman Law Group, we are your experts in family law, and we want to help you. Keep reading for our guide on how to file for divorce in Florida.
You must be a resident of our state in order to file for divorce in Florida. Someone who wants to file for divorce must have lived here for at least six months. If you are member of the armed forces, being stationed in Florida for at least six months qualifies as residency. Either person may be the legal resident.
Grounds for Divorce
In the state of Florida, there are two legal reasons why someone may file for divorce:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- One of the parties is mentally incapacitated
If one of the parties is thought to be mentally incapacitated, they must have some medical documentation of this fact. Habitual intoxication does not qualify as mental incapacitation. The mentally incapacitated person needs to have been in their condition for at least three years.
A marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ when it has ended for all intents and purposes. If it is no longer viable, or is beyond any hope of reconciliation or repair, then it is also considered ‘irretrievably broken’. You should keep in mind that only one party needs to think that the marriage is broken.
When going through the divorce process, you may have to answer a few questions about your marriage in order to convince a judge that it will no longer work. You should keep in mind that the standard is not very high.
The following are reasons why a marriage may be considered irretrievably broken:
- Emotional abuse
- Long periods of separation
- Alcohol abuse
- Basic unsuitability
- A spouse will be sent to prison
- Much more
If one of the spouses denies that the marriage is broken, or there is a minor child, the court may request that the couple go to counseling. In other cases, the court may prolong the proceedings so that the couple has time to fix their marriage.
Filing for Divorce
In order for a divorce to be considered valid, someone needs to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county where the spouse lives. The other spouse must be notified of the petition. At this point, the other spouse, called the Respondent, files a reply. This reply can contest the original petition.
The final dissolution of marriage may not be entered until at least 20 days after the original petition was filed. In some cases, a judge may find that this delay is unjust, and allow the divorce to proceed sooner.
Types of Divorce
There are three types of divorce in Florida: simplified, uncontested, and contested.
A simplified divorce happens when both parties ask the court for a divorce. Couples may only file for this type of divorce if they have no minor children, and the wife is not pregnant. Both spouses must complete a Financial Affidavit and a Property Settlement Agreement. The couple must attend the final divorce hearing.
Regular Dissolutions of Marriage are a little bit more complicated. This can be either a contested or an uncontested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the couple has resolved all issues concerning the division of property, assets, and debt. Issues relating to minor children must be cleared up as well.
A contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot or will not agree on a few different topics. In these cases, both parties go to court. A judge decides how the property is allocated. This may not go in your favor.
If you are going through a divorce, it is a good idea to retain a lawyer. This is especially true when you are going through a contested divorce.
The Berman Law Group can help. We have experienced, efficient, and erudite attorneys. If you are going through a divorce in Boca Raton, call us today at 1-800-375-5555.