On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
If you’re looking to untie the knot in Florida, you don’t really have a lot of explaining to do (to the courts, anyway), since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, or as Florida law describes divorce—the dissolution of marriage. In the Florida courts, would-be divorcees need only cite one of two reasons for a divorce: (1) the marriage is irretrievably broken or (2) one of the parties has become mentally incapacitated. Another reasoning behind seeking a divorce is not needed. Either spouse has the option to file for a dissolution of marriage under Florida law.
An additional requirement for a divorce to be granted in Florida is for at least one of the parties to be a resident of the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce. A legal separation is an option for those couples who do not meet the residency requirement.
The Process of Dissolution of Marriage
The process of divorce in Florida begins with one spouse filing a petition seeking dissolution of marriage. This essentially states that the union is irretrievably broken, and it goes on to describe what the person petitioning for divorce would like the court to do. Once the other party receives the petition, then they are expected to file an answer to the petition, which is basically their reply to what the petitioner has requested. If the two spouses have come to an agreement on specific divorce issues, such as the separation of assets and property, custody of minor children, and child and/or spousal support, then they may submit the details of such agreements in writing to the judge. Once the judge approves the agreement, the marriage can be speedily ended. If not, then the divorce may go to trial.
One of the hardest things to do for many divorcing parents is determining who will have custody of the minor children produced by the marriage. In general, the court looks at the child’s best interest and calculates child support based on the income of both the mother and the father. The custodial parent generally collects child support from the non-custodial parent.
Equitable Division of Property
When a divorce goes to trial, it’s a good idea to have a competent attorney by your side to ensure your interests are protected. A big sticking point is often the division of property. In Florida, courts divide property in what they believe is fair to both parties, which is known as equitable distribution. This is not always a 50/50 split. The court considers the contribution to the marriage made by each spouse, the financial circumstances of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted, and the contribution of each spouse in acquiring the property. The need to provide a home for dependent children and the desire to keep a business intact are additional considerations.
Divorce is a confusing and frustrating experience. Contact our legal team and our Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer right away if you are seeking a divorce or have been served a petition for marriage dissolution.