When couples walk down the aisle together, they don’t expect their relationship to end in a divorce, but that is the fate of nearly half of marriages in the United States. Going through a divorce can be intimidating— the future may seem uncertain and it includes processes many people aren’t familiar with. Rest assured, our team at Boeller Law, P.A. is here to help you enter the next chapter of your life confidently. Although each divorce is unique, our guide will help you better understand what to expect from a Florida divorce.
Grounds for Divorce
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that the person filing does not need to prove any type of fault as a reason for the divorce. Citing that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” or if one spouse is mentally incapacitated is sufficient grounds. However, if there has been some type of “fault,” such as infidelity or abuse, the courts will consider it when deciding on other family law matters.
Filing for Divorce in Florida
To file for a divorce in Florida, at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least six months. Additionally, the filing must be made in the county where either spouse resides. Once you meet the residency requirements, you or your attorney will complete a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (uncontested divorce) or a Petition for a Dissolution of Marriage (contested divorce).
Some divorces may be eligible for a simplified dissolution of marriage so long as the following criteria are met:
Both spouses agree to the simplified dissolution of marriage
You and your spouse have no minor or dependent children or adopted children under the age of 18
Neither spouse is pregnant
At least one partner has resided in Florida for six months
Both parties agree on how to divide all property and debts
Neither party is seeking alimony
Spouses agree the marriage is irretrievably broken
Florida Divorce Waiting Period
There is a mandatory 20-day waiting period before your case can be heard, but once it’s scheduled your divorce can be finalized in under a month. While an uncontested divorce may be ideal, it’s not the norm since many couples need to work out issues including child support, custody, and the division of their assets.
For those getting a contested divorce, both parties will have 45 days to turn over a financial affidavit from when the petition is served. This only applies to contested divorces. The affidavit will disclose the assets and liabilities of each party and should include the following:
List of assets
List of debts
Credit card statements
Personal financial statements
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning all marital assets are divided fairly. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split. To ensure that property is divided in an equitable manner, courts may consider the following factors:
Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including childcare and homemaking
Each spouse’s economic circumstances
The length of the marriage
If one spouse put their career or education on hold for the marriage
If one spouse contributed to the advancement of career or education for the other spouse
The desirability of obtaining a specific asset
The contribution of income and debts from each spouse
If it’s necessary to keep the family home to raise the children
The intentional wasting of assets during the two years prior to filing for divorce
When children are involved in a divorce, matters can become much more complicated. Above all else, parents should do their best to keep their relationship amicable for the sake of their kids. The courts would prefer the parents to come up with a parenting plan for custody but they will step in if this is not possible and determine custody based on the best interest of the child.
We are Here to Help
Divorce is a highly complex matter and can be overwhelming for anyone who’s not familiar with it. If you are thinking about getting a divorce in Florida, our team of attorneys is here to help you from beginning to end. We offer services that encompass all aspects of a divorce including child custody, child support and alimony, equitable distribution, and time-sharing.
Contact Boeller Law, P.A. for a free consultation at (941) 315-8598. Our attorneys are ready to help individuals and families throughout Venice, Sarasota, Charlotte County, Manatee County, and the surrounding areas.