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Divorce in Florida: An Easy-to-Understand Guide

Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce Case in Florida
Social Media Can Affect Your Divorce Case in Florida

For many, marriage is their ‘happily ever after.’ But it can turn into a nightmare real soon. When things go south, divorce might just be the best option.

However, understanding the divorce process in Florida can be challenging. Are you stuck and not able to understand how to proceed with your divorce? 

We’ve got you covered!

This guide will help you to understand the process of getting a divorce in Florida.

Let’s start by learning the state’s laws!


What are the Divorce Laws in Florida?

Before filing for divorce in Florida, it’s important to know the local laws:

No-fault Divorce State: Florida operates under a no-fault divorce principle, meaning that when you are filing for divorce (dissolution of marriage), you don’t need to provide evidence of any wrongdoing by your partner, such as infidelity or abuse.

Residency Requirement: As per the family law in Florida, before filing for divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for a minimum of six months. It is to ensure that the state has jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings.

Grounds for Divorce in Florida: You can file for divorce in Florida on two bases:

  1. The marriage is irretrievably broken, which means if you feel like hitting a dead-end, and your marriage seems too broken to repair, then you can file for divorce. Or when;
  2. One party has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years, which means either you or your spouse has been facing mental health challenges for at least three years, making it hard to continue the marriage; then, divorce is your resort.

What are the steps to get a divorce?

Undergoing the divorce process in Florida involves the following steps to uphold justice:

Starting the Process: To begin the divorce process in Florida, either you or your spouse can file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court.

Serving the Petition: The petition must be officially served to the other spouse, who then has 20 days to respond.

Financial Disclosure: Both parties are required to disclose their financial information, which helps in determining the division of assets and support.

Negotiation and Mediation in Divorce Cases: Before going to trial, it is recommended that both parties try to negotiate or engage in mediation to settle matters. In fact, in a contested divorce in Florida, the law requires that both spouses enter mediation in some Florida counties. 

Divorce Court Proceedings: If issues remain unresolved, the case proceeds to trial, where a judge makes decisions based on presented evidence.

Finalizing the Divorce: The divorce is concluded with a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage that officially ends the marriage and includes all agreements or settlements of disputes.

How is Marital Property Divided During Divorce?

During the divorce process in Florida, marital property division is handled using the principle of equitable distribution. Florida’s legal system ensures that marital assets and debts are divided fairly, though not necessarily equal. This approach takes into account factors beyond just financial contributions and the length of the marriage. Read below to learn more:

What is Equitable Distribution?

According to Florida Statutes, Section 61.075, the division of assets and debts normally begins with an equal split as the starting point. However, the court may make adjustments based on factors to ensure fairness; unlike the community property laws in other states, where assets and debts acquired during marriage are divided equally.

What are the factors considered by the Court while distributing the property?

In Florida, when a couple goes through a divorce, their shared property is divided based on what’s fair, rather than splitting everything 50/50. The property division in a Florida divorce court follows the principle of distribution outlined in Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes to ensure that marital assets and debts are divided fairly, considering factors such as each spouse’s contributions, needs, and circumstances.

Some factors taken into account under Family Law in Florida are:

  1. Contributions to the marriage, including taking care of the home and children and supporting each other’s careers or education.
  2. Economic situations of each spouse: The court examines the status of both spouses, which can influence how assets and debts are divided.
  3. Length of the marriage: Longer marriages may lead to an equal distribution of assets due to deeper financial ties between spouses.
  4. Sacrifices made for careers or education: If one spouse has sacrificed their career or education for the marriage, it is considered during asset division.
  5. Classification of assets: Marital assets (acquired during the marriage) are distinguished from non-marital assets (obtained before marriage or through inheritance or gifts), with a focus placed on dividing marital assets.
  6. Wasting assets: The law examines if one partner has recklessly spent shared assets when deciding on property division.

How is child custody and support determined in Florida divorce court proceedings?

In Florida, when deciding custody, the focus is on what’s best for the child, with an emphasis on co-parenting plans. The aim is to encourage both parents to engage in their child’s life and decision-making processes, ensuring that the child maintains a bond with both parents.

Determining child support in Florida involves following the guidelines outlined in the Florida Child Support Guidelines, which consider both parents’ incomes along with healthcare and childcare expenses. These guidelines uphold the child’s quality of life and effectively meet their needs.

Key Takeaway: Legal Representation in Divorce is Important

Seeking legal representation in divorce is essential!

If you’ve chosen to file for divorce, it’s essential to understand your rights. DeWitt Law Firm is committed to standing by your side during your divorce journey.

Have any questions in mind? Our team is here to hear you!

Rest assured, you’re not alone in this. We’re here to walk every step with you!