In Florida, any person can file for divorce without having to allege that their spouse indulged in some specific wrongdoing. Nevertheless, courts in Florida can consider allegations of ‘fault’ or wrongdoing when they are considering the amount of alimony to award. However, in order to file for divorce in Florida, at least one spouse has to be a resident of the state for six months before the filing.
There are two main ways of dissolving your marriage: simplified dissolution and regular dissolution. The former is the easier and quicker way to end the marriage and can be done if the couple meets all of the following requirements:
- Wife is not pregnant
- No minor children or dependents are part of the story
- At least one spouse has been a resident for the past six months
- Both spouses agree to the divorce
- Both spouses have filed financial affidavits
- Both spouses have agreed to division of assets
- Neither one is seeking alimony
In addition, both parties need to agree to give up their right to a trial and must file all necessary documents before appearing before the judge who will file for the divorce.
The regular dissolution starts when one of the spouses files a petition for dissolution which states that the marriage is broken and specifies their preference for the division of assets, custody, child support and alimony.
Most of the time, the couple can agree on the factors of their divorce and can proceed to signing a settlement agreement. Other times, couple disagree on certain points and may have to attend mediation to help them reach a proposed plan for agreement. This can be helpful because it can save the couple from a long court procedure. Sometimes, it is very difficult for couples to agree on any of the factors of divorce especially when the divorce has been especially unpleasant. In this situation, a trial must happen. This process is long and expensive but each spouse gets the right to obtain documents about the other spouse’s wealth, income, assets and liabilities as well as to question and cross question them in the witness stand.
Property Division and Alimony
Divorce laws in Florida provide for ‘equitable’ division of property and wealth which means that all facts of the case are considered to reach a fair decision. This happens often in conjunction with alimony awards when any one of the spouse has requested it based on their financial need and the other spouse’s ability to pay. A number of relevant factors are considered at this point including length of marriage and standards of living during the time the couple was married, financial resources of both spouses and their respective contribution towards their home.
Divorce laws also allow for both parents to share the responsibilities of a child preferably with both parents reaching an agreement. While one parent’s residence may be the primary one for the child, the other parent is allowed sufficient visitation and contact. However, all decisions are made keeping the child’s best interests in mind.
It is always best to seek legal guidance if the divorce process seems to be complicated or if the laws seem confusing. An experienced Florida divorce attorney can lessen the emotional and financial burden of divorce proceedings and ensure that you get what you are entitled to.