Filing for divorce is generally not a subject that many people are familiar with until they experience problems in their marriage. As a result, you may have numerous questions about Florida laws governing the dissolution of marriage. Below are the answers to ten divorce FAQs prepared by our Florida divorce attorneys.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Laws in Florida
Florida refers to the process of legally ending a marriage as “dissolution of marriage.” Some states require that a spouse prove “fault” for the breakup of the marriage when they file for divorce. However, Florida is a no-fault divorce state.
When you file a petition for dissolution of marriage with a Florida court, you only need to allege that the marital relationship is “irretrievably broken.” The only other ground for divorce in Florida is that your spouse has developed a permanent mental incapacity.
2. What Are the Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Florida?
Florida has simplified its divorce process. The requirements for filing for divorce are:
Proof that the parties are legally married
One party has resided in Florida for at least six months
A party may file a Regular Dissolution of Marriage or a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The Regular Dissolution of Marriage is used when there are disputes regarding one or more divorce issues. Parties who use the Simplified Dissolution of Marriage may not need an attorney.
3. What Are the Requirements for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?
Not every couple qualifies to use the simplified process for ending a marriage. A couple must meet the following requirements to file for a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage:
Both spouses agree to use a simplified process for the divorce
The parties do not have any minor children or dependent children
Neither spouse is pregnant
One of the spouses has lived in Florida for six or more months
The spouses agree on how to divide marital property and debt
Neither party is seeking spousal support
The parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
If you do not meet all of the above requirements, you must proceed under the regular divorce process.
4. Does Florida Require Couples to Split Property Equally During a Divorce?
Florida is not a community property state. Instead, Florida laws require equitable distribution of assets. However, equitable distribution does not always mean “equal” property division.
The court decides many factors when dividing assets during your divorce proceedings. Factors that the court might consider include, but are not limited to:
The economic circumstances of both spouses
The duration of the marriage
The contribution of each spouse to the marriage
Only marital property is included in the division of assets. Each party retains the non-marital property (separate property) they owned before the marriage or may have acquired during the marriage, such as an inheritance.
5. Can I Receive Spousal Support in Florida?
A court order for spousal support is only entered when a spouse proves a need for alimony. The spouse must also prove that the other party has the ability to pay spousal support.
There are several different types of alimony in Florida:
Permanent spousal support
Both parties have the right to obtain information about the other spouse’s assets, income, and resources. The information is used to argue whether or not an award of alimony is justified.
6. What Are the Factors the Court Considers When Awarding Spousal Support?
The court may consider any relevant factor when deciding whether to award spousal support. Factors the court considers when awarding alimony includes:
The length of the marriage
The age, emotional condition, and physical health of both spouses
The standard of living during the marriage
The contributions of a spouse, such as child-rearing, taking care of a home or contributing to the other spouse’s career
The income-producing potential and financial resources for each spouse
The time it would take a spouse to obtain education and training to earn a living
Generally, courts do not grant alimony for short-term marriages. If you were married for less than seven years, you need to prove that alimony is justified even though the marriage is considered a short-term marriage.
7. How is Child Support Calculated in Florida?
Florida uses child support guidelines to determine how much a parent pays in financial support for their child. The parents’ incomes, child care costs, a child’s health care costs, and the standard needs of the child may factor into the amount of child support ordered by the court.
8. Can I Receive Sole Custody of My Child in Florida?
The presumption is that a child benefits from a close and continuing relationship with both parents. Therefore, Florida courts prefer that parents work together to develop a parenting plan that works for their family and allows the child to spend adequate time with each parent. If the parents cannot agree to the terms of child custody, the court will decide child custody based on the child’s best interest.
While shared parental responsibility is preferred, there are situations in which a court might grant sole parental responsibility. While sole custody is rare, it can be warranted when one parent is unfit. Factors that could indicate a parent is unfit may include domestic violence, child abuse, and substance addiction.
9. What is an Uncontested Divorce?
When both spouses agree to the terms of the divorce, the process of ending the marriage is described as an uncontested divorce. If either spouse disputes even one matter, the parties must litigate the divorce.
When compared to a contested divorce, uncontested divorces save time and money for the parties. It also avoids a judge making decisions for the spouses instead of the parties deciding what is best for their situation.
Uncontested divorces are often resolved with alternative dispute resolution methods like divorce mediation.
10. What is Family Law?
Family law deals with legal issues involving families and spouses. It covers a wide range of matters, including but not limited to:
A family law attorney is a lawyer who represents parties in these matters. If you need a family law attorney, it is best to choose a lawyer who has substantial experience practicing before the Florida family courts.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Orlando Divorce Lawyers
If you have questions about the divorce process in Florida or other family law matters, contact our law firm to speak with an experienced Orlando divorce attorney. Our family law attorneys provide compassionate, trusted legal advice to help you decide what is best for you and your children.