Grounds for divorce in Florida

Grounds for divorce in Florida: a brief guide; causes, legal grounds; abandonment;   On what grounds can a divorce get filed in Florida? Are there any legal prerequisites to qualify to seek divorce under Florida law?

Grounds for divorce in Florida: a brief guide: causes, legal grounds; abandonment
Grounds for divorce in Florida: a brief guide: causes, legal grounds; abandonment.

If you live in Florida and are currently planning to get a divorce from your partner, this article will guide and answer every question you might have.

Let’s look at the bigger picture to understand divorce law in Florida and the prerequisites to seeking divorce under Florida law.

Causes, legal grounds

Marriage is a beautiful notion that lashes two people together for life. But nowadays, the concept of being ‘together forever has disappeared. Divorce and separation have become common practices around the world. 

While some states allow filing divorce cases based on desertion, adultery, cruelty, venereal disease, leprosy, abandonment, etc. Florida has a no-fault policy, which means there is no need to prove the fault of either party responsible for the end of the marriage.

In simple words, couples cannot blame each other for the dissolution of their marriage to trigger their right to divorce. 

Many states across the globe have adopted the no-fault divorce policy to simplify the divorce procedure.

However, the Florida statute still recognizes two grounds to legally dissolve the marriage and seek divorce. The party must choose and prove one of the grounds to file a divorce case.

According to Fla. Stat. Sec 61.052, to get divorce in Florida, the parties must file a divorce on one of the following grounds:

  1. Irretrievable breakdown
  2. Mental incapacity 

Besides these two grounds, the sunshine state does not recognize any other grounds such as an extramarital affair, physical or mental abuse, abandonment, desertion, etc.

However, it does not mean the court will neglect the above abusive and adulterous behaviour of someone and leave the other party weeping in the corner. 

The court may consider the immoral behaviour of the spouse while deciding other matters related to divorce proceedings like; 

  • Alimony
  • Dividing the marital assets
  • Child custody

Thus, to get a divorce in the sunshine state, you don’t need to establish the other party’s fault. You just need to choose one of the grounds legally recognized by state law. 

What does Irretrievable breakdown mean

Mostly, divorce cases get filed in Florida on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. 

In simple words, an irretrievable marriage breakdown denotes that there are irreparable differences between the couples. They cannot get along anymore. There is no probability of the spouses getting back together. Thus, divorce is the last resort.

However, even if neither spouse contests this fact, it does not mean; that the court will grant a divorce outright. The court tries to find even the slightest hope to save the marital bond. The court does not give divorce only based on the party’s claim.

Thus, the parties must prove that their marriage is no longer sustainable and that they have no option but to divorce.

However, the court may prolong the divorce process to allow time for reconciliation, order one or both parties to undergo a counselling session, or may consult a mediator to sort out the issues, if;

  • The couple has any children.
  • If the other party contests the fact for divorce.
  • If the court concludes that the marriage is sustainable.

Thus, the parties alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken must prove this fact and produce evidence to support their claim.

What does Mental incapacity mean?

According to the Florida Statute Section 61.052, a divorce decree may get granted on the ground of one of the party’s mental incapacity. 

Mental incapacity rarely gets used to obtaining a divorce in Florida. Because if a divorce gets granted based on the grounds of mental incapacity, the court may order to pay spousal support.

However, to file divorce on the ground of mental incapacity, the alleged party must ensure that the following requisites get met:

  • The party against whom the claim gets made is mentally incapacitated for at least; 3 years before the commencement of the divorce case.
  • A court-appointed professional verifies the fact that the party is indeed mentally incompetent.
  • The alleged party has served the notice of divorce proceeding to the legal guardian or a close relative of the other party.

Thus after satisfying all the requisites, the courts may grant the divorce decree if it deems fit.

The requirement to file a divorce case in Florida:

To be eligible to file a divorce in Florida, one of the parties must meet the residential requirement given under Fla. Stat. § 61.021.

According to these sections, to file a divorce in Florida, one of the parties must be a state resident for at least; 6 months before the divorce case gets filed.

In simple words, one of the parties must hold a valid Florida identity card, driving licence, voter Id, or any government-issued identity proof. A third-party testimony may also get offered to support the alleged fact. 

Thus, there is only one requirement to be fulfilled to file the divorce petition in court.

Wrapping up:Grounds for divorce in Florida

As easy as seeking a divorce decree in Florida seems, it is not. The court tries to find even the slightest hope of keeping the marriage. 

Thus, the parties are required to prove the alleged fact beyond any out.

In simplified dissolution of marriage cases where there are no children, no demand for alimony, and no issue of distribution of marital assets, it is easier to get a divorce by signing a settlement decree. 

But it becomes difficult to prove the alleged fact if the parties have a child or the other party contests the claim. Taking help from an experienced lawyer can help you get the divorce decree without any hassle.

Read also: Infidelity divorce; Unreasonable behavior divorce; What is a divorce lawyer?

External resource: Floridabar

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