Fault Based Grounds for Divorce Are No Longer Required in the State of Florida

If either spouse wants out of the marriage, the State of Florida will grant the divorce.  This is true if only one (1) spouse wants a divorce and the other does not.  The legal grounds for divorce in Florida is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.  In fact, you will need to testify at your final hearing that your marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is nothing the judge can order to put it back together.

Do I have to prove infidelity as grounds for divorce?

If your spouse had an extra-marital affair, you do not need to prove that fact to a judge in order to get a divorce.  The judge is aware that extra-marital affairs are common and do not need or want to hear the details. In fact, the judge will hear the details of infidelity for only a few select issues –namely, dissipation of marital assets.  Under that context, the judge will only hear the financial details of where the money was spent, but not the details of the affair.

How do I get my divorce?

The Florida Statutes on divorce say “you must be a resident of the State of Florida for at least 6 months prior to filing your dissolution of marriage action.”.  This is not a waiting period, this is simply the time it takes before acquiring residency in Florida.   Most couples have resided in Florida for the majority of their marriage.  However, sometimes, couples just move to Florida and separate, or one spouse relocates to Florida then decides to seek a divorce.  If this is your situation, you need to discuss with an attorney whether Florida has jurisdiction to distribute your assets and liabilities.  For example, if you moved from Chicago to Florida, and your spouse remained in Chicago and never lived in Florida, Florida may not have jurisdiction over your spouse to give you a divorce.

Can I get a legal separation if I am not sure I am ready for a divorce?

There is no legal separation in Florida.  If you are concerned about being financially tied to your spouse, but not ready for a divorce, you can file your petition for dissolution of marriage, and serve your spouse, then you can abate the proceedings while you attempt marital counseling.  You do not have to file a petition to attend marriage counseling.  The effect of filing the petition indicates to the court that you should not be financially responsible to or for your spouse’s actions as of the date that you filed your petition.  You can also file an action for support unconnected with dissolution of marriage.  If you think this is right for you, during your consultation with an attorney, ask about it and the attorney can help you determine what is the best course of action for your desired outcome.

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