Florida Divorce Law
Like the rest of the nation, Florida has its own set of laws that are specifically tailored to divorce. Adherence to these laws is critical when filing for divorce, as those who fail to do so could end up delaying the dissolution of their own marriage by several months or even years. For help understanding your own obligations when going through a divorce, please contact a dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney today.
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that, unlike in prior decades, divorcing spouses are no longer required to prove fault in order to legally terminate a marriage. Instead, the parties must only assert that their marriage is irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences. In fact, Florida courts don’t even require both spouses to agree that a marriage is broken before they will grant a divorce. In most cases, as long as one spouse makes this assertion, the presiding judge will grant the divorce regardless of the accusations made by one or both parties. There are, however, situations where a judge will consider the reason for the breakdown of the marriage when determining how marital assets will be divided, when developing a parenting plan, or when determining alimony.
General Filing Requirements
When it comes to the general requirements for obtaining a divorce, Florida divorce law is essentially the same as those in most other states. One spouse, for instance, must have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months before a couple will be permitted to file for divorce in Florida, a requirement that mimics that of many other states. Similarly, petitioners must visit the local circuit court in the county in which he or she lives and submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage form in order to jumpstart proceedings.
The filing spouse is then required to provide notice to the other party of the filing of the petition, after which, that individual has 20 days to file a response. In the event that the recipient fails to respond before this deadline, the petitioner can file a motion for default, schedule a formal hearing with the court, and notify his or her spouse of the hearing with a Notice of Hearing. At this point, the respondent can either agree or disagree with the petitioner’s claims and file for notice of trial, after which, the couple can proceed with a contested divorce. Otherwise, the court will grant an uncontested divorce to the filer with no input from the respondent.
Florida also offers couples the opportunity to file for a simplified dissolution of marriage. These types of divorces are usually more cost effective and less time consuming, but in order to qualify for a simplified dissolution, the parties must fulfill certain requirements, including that:
- Both parties consent to the proceedings;
- They have no minor children together;
- Neither party is pregnant;
- The parties have agreed on the division of assets and liabilities;
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony; and
- Both parties agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken.
Generally, spouses who qualify for this type of divorce are able to dissolve their marriages much more quickly and painlessly than their ineligible counterparts.
Contact an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer for Advice
If you are facing divorce and live in Florida, please contact dedicated divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about our services.