If you are considering a divorce or “dissolution of marriage” in Florida there are many issues to consider, such as legal separation, grounds for divorce, annulment, and property division. Obtaining a Florida divorce legally ends your marriage; you and your ex-spouse will become single and are able to re-marry if desired. A divorcing spouse should consider obtaining a Florida divorce attorney.
Florida does not have a formal procedure for legal separation, but the parties can enter into a written agreement for issues such as property division, custody, and support. Such an action would not preclude either party from maintaining another proceeding for additional relief at any time.
Grounds For Divorce
The “grounds for divorce” states the reason you want to obtain a divorce. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that a spouse does not have to show a particular cause as to why he or she wants a divorce. Marital dissolution or divorce is granted based on the following grounds (reasons): (1) the marriage is irretrievably broken, or (2) one of the partners is mentally incapacitated for at least three years before filing the petition for divorce. You should contact your Florida divorce attorney for more information on filing for divorce.
Divorce Residency Requirements
To obtain a divorce, one of the spouses must have been a resident of Florida for 180 days, or six months, before filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. Filing in the appropriate circuit court where either party resides commences the action for divorce, but no judgment will be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the filing of the original petition (unless there is evidence that an injustice would result from this delay).
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
A procedure for uncontested divorce is available in Florida if there are no children of the marriage under the age of 18 and the parties can agree on all other issues arising from the marriage, such as property division and spousal support. An uncontested divorce has a shorter waiting period of 60 days.
When an annulment is granted in Florida a divorce is unnecessary, because it is declaring the marriage to have been invalid (marriage was not valid when entered into). There is not a set statute outlining Florida annulment procedures, but case law on the matter does exist for annulment procedure guidance. The following are examples of reasons a marriage may be annulled: bigamy, venereal disease, sterility, or impotence, mental incompetence, fraud, or a marriage entered into as a joke. As Florida annulments are based on case law it is recommended that you seek advice from a Florida divorce attorney.
Property Division in a Florida Divorce
Florida is an “equitable distribution” state also known as “common law” or “marital property.” In Florida, the spouse whose name appears on an ownership document, like a title, deed, or registration, owns the property. However, a spouse is not entitled to keep separate property. Each spouse is entitled to receive a fair and equitable share (equitable distribution) of the other spouse’s property. In determining what is the fair and equitable share of property, the court shall set aside for each spouse that spouse’s nonmarital assets and liabilities, and in distributing the marital assets and liabilities between the parties, the court will begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors in the statute. It is important to discuss any relevant factors with a Florida divorce attorney.
Links to Divorce Statutes