Understanding Divorce Law in Florida: FAQs Answered
Although divorce rates have dropped in recent years, 45% of all marriages will still end in divorce.
If you live in Florida and you’re contemplating divorce, you likely have many questions about the Florida legal system. What are the laws in Florida when it comes to filing for divorce, dividing assets, and determining child custody?
We’ll answer these important questions and more, so keep reading below for an overview of divorce law in Florida.
Who’s Eligible to File for a Divorce?
One of the two parties must have lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. They must file in the county where one of the two parties resides.
The one exception is an active military member who resides in Florida but is temporarily stationed outside the state.
What Grounds Are Acceptable?
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you don’t need to show proof of infidelity or other specific reasons. The only thing you must state is that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and impossible to repair.
In the rare event that your spouse has been mentally incapacitated for three or more years, this is also an acceptable reason to file for divorce.
How Does the Florida Divorce Process Work?
One of the two parties will file a form known as the “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage.” The spouse who files this form becomes the petitioner, while the other spouse is the respondent.
The petitioner gives the divorce papers to the respondent, who then needs to file a different form called an “Answer and Waiver of Service.” This form must be notarized prior to filing. If the respondent refuses to accept the papers from the petitioner, the county sheriff will serve them the papers.
If you and your spouse qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage, you won’t need to hire lawyers or provide financial disclosure. This is possible only if you have no minor children, neither party is seeking alimony, and you can agree on how to divide your debts and assets.
What About Child Custody & Alimony?
In the state of Florida, marital property must have an equitable distribution. The court will evaluate each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including homemaking and childcare. The court will also evaluate each parent’s fitness and financial situation when it comes to awarding child custody, child support, and alimony.
Florida divorce law is constantly changing when it comes to alimony. For example, new legislation in 2022 could abolish permanent alimony and remove the court’s ability to consider infidelity when determining alimony amounts.
It’s always wise to seek advice from a legal expert so you’re informed of the latest laws.
Divorce Law in Florida 101: Class Dismissed
When it comes to divorce, these are the relevant Florida laws you should know. It’s also good to remember that Florida statutes can change, so be sure to find out the latest legislation that could affect your divorce.
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