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What Are The Florida Divorce Laws: Things to Know Before Making the Break Up Official

Confused by Florida divorce laws? We bring clarity and peace of mind.

When the knots of marriage begin to unravel, where can you turn? Under Florida divorce laws, the pathway to officially ending a marriage is forged with legalities that can perplex the most logical minds. Are you aware of the many hoops you must jump through to dissolve your marriage in Florida? The need for an experienced attorney with a deep understanding of these laws becomes clear as every unique situation presents challenges and requirements.

Quick Summary:

  • Eligibility for Divorce in Florida: To file for divorce in Florida, one partner must have lived in Florida for at least six months. A ‘Petition for Dissolution of Marriage’ is required, and the non-filing spouse has 20 days to respond.
  • Types of Divorce: Florida recognizes contested and uncontested divorces. A simplified dissolution is available if both parties agree on key issues and no children are involved.
  • Grounds for Divorce: Divorce can proceed on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or a spouse’s mental incapacity for three years.
  • Property Division: Florida follows equitable distribution, focusing on fairness rather than equality and considering contributions to marriage and economic circumstances.
  • Alimony: Types of alimony include bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, permanent, and durational, determined by factors like marriage length, living standard during the marriage, and each spouse’s financial status.
  • Annulment: Florida allows annulments under specific conditions, such as lack of guardian consent for underage individuals, marriages achieved under deceit, or incapacity of partners.
  • Child Custody and Support: Florida promotes shared parental responsibility and has detailed guidelines for child support, focusing on the child’s well-being after divorce.
  • Need for a Lawyer: An experienced Florida divorce lawyer ensures proper representation, navigates through complex laws, and reduces stress by managing legal proceedings on your behalf.

Are You Eligible for a Divorce in Florida?

The journey to getting a divorce in Florida begins with meeting specific eligibility criteria:

  • One partner must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing.
  • A ‘Petition for Dissolution of Marriage’ is required to initiate the process in your local circuit court.
  • The spouse not filing must be made aware and given 20 days to respond.

Understanding whether you are eligible for divorce is the first critical step under Florida divorce laws.

What Happens If Your Spouse Does Not Respond?

If there is no response within 20 days:

  • The filing spouse can move for default by visiting the court clerk and completing the necessary forms.
  • A final hearing will be scheduled.
  • The non-responding spouse receives a ‘Notice of Hearing’ for the divorce.

Dealing with a non-responsive spouse can complicate matters, making legal advice imperative.

What Types of Divorces Are Recognized in Florida?

The dissolution of marriage in Florida can unfold in different ways:

  • Contested Divorce: If the respondent disagrees with the divorce terms, the case may become contested, requiring further legal proceedings.
  • Uncontested Divorce: When both parties agree, the divorce is uncontested, often involving less complication.

Acknowledging the type of divorce you are dealing with helps determine the complexity of the process.

What Is Simplified Dissolution?

A ‘Simplified Dissolution’ might be possible if:

  • Both partners agree the marriage cannot be repaired.
  • There are no children or dependents involved.
  • Agreements regarding property and debt division are reached.
  • Neither party seeks alimony.
  • Financial disclosures are unwarranted beyond financial affidavits.
  • Rights to trial and appeal are waived, and both partners willingly attend the hearing.

For those fitting this criterion, a simplified dissolution is a more straightforward, usually quicker process.

What Terms Should You Consider in Your Divorce?

Considerations when filling out your divorce petition should include:

  • Status changes, such as reverting to a maiden name.
  • A Marital Settlement Agreement filing can speed up the process if children are involved.

Identifying your needs and objectives early on is vital under Florida divorce laws.

What Grounds are Required for Divorce According to Florida Divorce Laws?

Florida divorce laws recognize two grounds:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
  • Mental incapacity of a spouse for three years or more.

Understanding the acceptable grounds in Florida is vital for aligning your situation with the legal requirements.

How Does Property Division Work Under Florida Divorce Laws?

The state adopts equitable distribution, where fairness, rather than equality, is paramount:

  • Contributions to the marriage by each spouse.
  • Economic circumstances and marriage duration.
  • Each partner’s influence on the other’s career or education.
  • Maintaining any business or marital home intact from a claim by the other spouse.
  • Intentional dissipation of assets after the divorce filing.

The fairness of the distribution is the focus, which can be quite complex and often subjective.

What Should You Know About Alimony in Florida?

Alimony can be seen as financial support from one spouse to another and is categorized as follows:

  • Bridge-the-Gap: Assists with short-term needs up to two years.
  • Rehabilitative: Helps the receiving spouse become self-sufficient by developing skills.
  • Permanent: For long-term support, typically after a lengthy marriage.
  • Durational: Awards assistance for a set period after a shorter marriage.

Alimony determination involves considering the duration of the marriage, standard of living, both partners’ health and financial conditions, and the contributions made during the marriage.

How to Approach Annulment in Florida?

An annulment dissolves a marriage based on certain conditions, such as:

  • Underage without guardian consent.
  • Influence of drugs or lack of consent capacity.
  • Marriage is obtained through illegal means such as deceit or force.
  • Physical or mental incapacity to consummate or maintain the marriage.

Annulment is distinct from divorce and involves different legal implications and requirements.

What If Children Are Involved?

Divorce with children brings additional layers of complexity, including:

  • Determining child custody arrangements and support.
  • Ensuring both parents maintain responsibilities towards their children post-divorce.

The welfare of children is a primary concern under Florida divorce laws.

What You Need to Know About Florida Child Custody & Child Support Laws

Florida has shifted away from the traditional terms of ‘custody’ and ‘visitation,’ now using ‘parental responsibility’ and ‘timesharing.’

Florida Child Custody Laws

The courts use parenting plans to establish guidelines for family law cases involving children. Here are some critical facts:

  • Parental Responsibility and Timesharing: These terms refer to decision-making authority and scheduling time with children.
  • Shared Parental Responsibility: Preferred by courts unless it’s detrimental to the child’s interests.
  • Sole Parental Responsibility: Granted only if shared responsibility harms the child.
  • Recent Legislative Changes: As of July 1, 2023, new laws presume equal 50/50 timesharing for parents and have altered how parenting plans are modified.

Florida Child Support Laws

Child support calculations consider various factors detailed in the Child Support Guidelines Worksheets. The factors include:

  • Both parents’ net income.
  • Number of children involved.
  • Health insurance and childcare expenses.
  • Special needs of the children.

Why Do I Need an Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer?

Facing a divorce can be a complicated and emotional process. The support and guidance of an experienced Florida divorce lawyer can be invaluable in ensuring a fair and satisfactory outcome. Here are three reasons why:

Understanding of Florida Divorce Law

An attorney well-versed in Florida divorce law can help you navigate the intricacies of the legal process, accurately interpret complex regulatory language, and prevent potential missteps.

Effective Representation

A lawyer’s primary job is to represent your interests. They can provide qualified advice on property division, alimony, and child custody, ensuring your rights are protected.

Reducing Stress

The skills of a found attorney translate to less stress for you. They handle all the necessary paperwork, court appearances, and negotiations, leaving you to focus on your personal well-being and the next chapter of your life.

Need Help Understanding More about Divorce Florida Laws? Call Us Now!

Facing the challenges of divorce can feel overwhelming, bringing a wave of questions and uncertainties about the future. At Figueroa Law Group, PA, we are prepared to provide comprehensive support during these trying times. With over 75 collective years of experience in family law, our attorneys are well-equipped to handle even the most complex cases with care, passion, and dedication. 

Beyond divorce, our firm offers assistance in child custody, child support, alimony, and more, ensuring a holistic approach to your family’s legal needs. Our commitment to achieving positive results is unmatched as we tirelessly work to secure the best possible outcome for you and your loved ones. Don’t let the stress of legal proceedings weigh you down. Contact us today and let our dedicated team guide you to a brighter future.

Facing Divorce or other family law matters? We can help!

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