Florida Divorce Law Basics

Wedding Rings
Florida divorce laws require specific requirements to be granted. (Image: CC-BY-SA 3.0 Jeff Belmonte via Wikimedia Commons)

The decision to divorce is often a difficult one for any couple to make. While the reasons and circumstances surrounding a divorce greatly vary, many times, those involved experience the same emotions during this difficult time. If you are considering divorce in the state of Florida, there are some basic principles to be aware of that could be helpful in understanding the divorce process.

Requirements for Filing

In order to file for a divorce in the state of Florida, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least the last six months, and at the time the divorce is filed. More specifically, the paperwork must be filed within the county where one spouse lives in order for the court to have proper jurisdiction over the case. Once the divorce is filed, each party is usually free to move out of state if he or she chooses.

Types of Divorce

In Florida, couples can be granted two types of divorce: absolute or limited. Absolute divorce is the more common, and involves asking the court to order a permanent end to the marriage. This would permit each spouse to then remarry, and also acts to terminate property claims one spouse may have against the other.

On the other hand, limited divorce does not terminate the marriage, permit remarriage, or terminate property claims, but only serves to legalize a separation and provide for support.

Grounds for Divorce

According to Florida law, all that is required to obtain a divorce is to prove the marriage is irretrievably broken. Florida is one of many states that has abolished fault as a ground for divorce. However, fault may be considered in other areas, such as the award of alimony, the division of marital property, and any determination of custody.

Other Considerations

Once the divorce petition is filed, it is only the beginning of the process. Parties to a divorce proceeding will be required to file responsive pleadings and other legal documents when appropriate, and may risk having their rights affected if this procedure is not properly followed. In addition, issues such as property division, parental responsibility, and other topics about the couple’s shared matters will need to be addressed before the divorce is finalized. This process can quickly become complicated and stressful if the parties express any disagreement on these issues.

Having an experienced divorce attorney can be invaluable in addressing these and other topics with a future ex-spouse. A knowledgeable attorney will be able to advise his or her client about the following:

  • property division and how items of property will likely be divided pursuant to the divorce;
  • any award of alimony and the factors the judge will consider in making such an award;
  • tax benefits and consequences of any agreement that is entered into; and
  • child custody and support matters and the factors the judge will consider in making these determinations.

Divorce Attorney

If you are considering divorce, you do not have to move forward alone. Contact the experienced attorneys at Hoffman, Larin and Agnetti, P.A. to represent your interests and protect your rights. We serve clients in Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties.