Divorce in Florida

You are not required to file for divorce in the state in which you were married.

A divorce is technically referred to as the “dissolution of marriage” in Florida. If you currently reside in the state of Florida, you may file a petition for a divorce once you or your spouse have resided within the state for at least 6 months immediately before filing for divorce.

Florida is a No Fault Divorce State

In order to file a petition for divorce you must have grounds for the divorce, which in Florida can only be irreconcilable differences or the mental incapacitation of one of the spouses. The divorce can be filed by you or your spouse. No fault divorce simply means that you do not need to blame your husband or wife for causing the divorce.  That is, no one needs to be at fault when a Court considers your case. It will be necessary to show that the marriage is broken beyond repair and that there is nothing that the Court can do to fix the marriage.

The Divorce Process

If you are contemplating divorce and you live in the state of Florida, it is helpful to have a firm understanding of the Florida divorce process before you make your decisions regarding how you would like to proceed. There are several different divorce petition options available including simple divorce, uncontested divorce, contested divorce and collaborative divorce, and the process that needs to be adhered to varies for each.

Depending on the specific circumstances and details surrounding your divorce, you may file a petition for a simple divorce, an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce or a collaborative divorce.  In the regular dissolution process, the petition will be filed with the circuit court in the county that you and your spouse last lived together while married or it can be filed in the county where either one of you lives. After the petition is filed, you or your spouse will be served and will need to respond with an answer within 20 days. At this point, the issues of the petition will need to be addressed and a counter petition can be made.

Types of Divorce

Traditional Divorce

A traditional divorce begins when one person files a petition for dissolution in a Court and serves it on the other party to the marriage.  In a simplified dissolution of marriage, the process can be easier, but you and your spouse will need to agree that you are going to work together to find a solution and you must both appear in court.   If a settlement cannot be made together, the case may need to go to court to gain a final outcome.   Some of the issues that tend to cause problems are property division, alimony,  time-sharing (a.k.a. child visitation), parental responsibility, and child support.

If you and your spouse do not reach an agreement then a Judge will decide when you can see your child, who gets your property, and how much money you will pay to your ex-spouse and child.  Once you have gone to court and finalized all issues, the Court will enter a divorce decree (i.e. Final Judgment of Dissolution).  There are many traps for the unwary when dividing certainties of assets, such as retirements accounts, IRAs, 401(K), and pension plans.  In fact, certain types of retirement accounts can not be divided, even with a Court order.  With the help of a knowledgeable divorce attorney from our firm, you can get through the process informed and with confidence.

Collaborative Divorce

A more amicable way to handle your divorce is to proceed through the collaborative process.  An amicable divorce attorney, which to some seems like an oxymoron, who is trained in the collaborative process can help you and your spouse through the divorce process without using adversarial litigation.  If you are looking for an amicable divorce attorney who is trained in the collaborative process then contact John to discuss your case.

Collaborative divorce can be an effective alternative to a traditional Florida divorce. During a collaborative divorce you and your spouse will be able to retain control over the important decisions that must be made concerning a resolution to a divorce agreement including child custody and visitation, child support, alimony and property division.

Property Division

Property will be divided in the state on an equitable distribution basis. There are a number of things that will go in to determining what is considered separate property and what is considered marital property.

Children

Child Custody

Florida divorce can contain many elements about which important decisions will need to be made. If you are a divorcing couple with minor or dependent children it’s important to understand the different options available to you for determining who gets custody of the children. Unless you are filing a petition for a collaborative divorce, ultimately the courts will have the power to make the final determination on the child custody order.

Child Support

When arranging for the financial security and welfare of your children during a divorce, it may be difficult to determine what is the best way to proceed. A basic understanding of the Florida divorce laws that govern the decisions regarding child support can be a great help in deciding which type of petition to file and how you should go about determining if custody should be awarded, to whom and what amount.

Visitation

Visitation in a divorce where there are minor or dependent children involved, can be an extremely important consideration, especially where the well-being of the children is concerned. In recent years the courts have come to realize that under most circumstances it is in the best interest of the children to maintain a relationship with both parents.

Relocation

When intending to relocate to a new residence that is 50 or miles away, the custodial parent has a legal obligation to serve and file a Notice of Intent to Relocate that allows the non-custodial parent an opportunity to agree or object to the relocation. If the non-custodial parent objects, a hearing will held to make a determination as to whether or not the relocation can be allowed.

Spousal Support

If you are in the process of divorce, you may have concerns about your future financial security. If you have been the major wage earner or if you have been primarily financially dependent upon your spouse, there are factors that come into play that may be able to make an arrangement that is equitable for both parties.

Domestic Violence

Defend Against False Allegations of Domestic Violence

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic abuse, or if you have been wrongly accused of domestic abuse, it’s important to have knowledgeable legal representation to assist you in protecting your rights. Spouses on both sides of the domestic abuse concern need to be properly prepared when facing this serious issue.  Failure to defend against false allegations of domestic violence can have serious consequences on you ability to see your children, or even engage in your occupation or job.

Protective Orders

A request for protection orders, also known as restraining orders, can be filed by one member of a family against another when domestic violence has been alleged to have occurred. If you need to file a request for a protection order or if you have had a protection order filed against you then you need to discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced family law attorney.

Orders and Final Judgments

Modification to Court Orders

If you have received a Florida divorce decree, you may think that you have to live with the orders put forth by the courts no matter how circumstances may change in the future. Through a modification to court orders concerning issues such as child custody and visitation, child support and alimony, you may be able to have certain portions of the orders modified to accommodate elements of the decree that have significantly changed.

Enforcing Court Orders

If you have court orders that have designated that your former spouse is to be liable for certain elements of your divorce, such as child support or spousal support, you have a right to seek an enforcement of those orders if they are not being met. If for any reason your former spouse is not abiding by the terms of the court orders than he/she is in violation of the court orders and will be subjected to the consequences of a court enforcement.