Florida Divorce Laws

Florida Divorce Residency Requirements

In order to be able to apply for a divorce in Florida one of the spouses must apply to the Circuit Court for dissolution of marriage. In order to be able to do so one of the spouses must have resided in Florida for a period of at least 6 months before applying for a divorce. The spouses can apply for dissolution of marriage in any country.

Florida divorceFlorida divorce cases begin with the determination of which court to file. Since divorce proceedings are handled through the federal system, the circuit court of each county will be responsible for any divorce petitions.

Individuals are required to file in their county of residency or the county of their spouses’ residency. To be eligible for Florida residency, an individual must be a Florida resident for a minimum of six months. If a petition is filed towards the incorrect court, the case will be dismissed.

Grounds for applying for divorce

United States law mandates that any divorce petition requires that there be grounds for why the divorce is being petitioned. These grounds must be legal under Florida law.

Both individuals have the opportunity to agree on the divorcing grounds or one individual may bring the grounds for divorce to the court to be proven before the respondent. Marriages may be dissolved if they fall into one of the two grounds categories. Divorce petitioning under any other circumstances will be dismissed.

Category A of divorce grounds is that of a marriage that has been broken beyond retrieval. In these cases, marriage counseling usually has been attempted. Category A cases do not mark one individual responsible for the failure of the marriage and name no one to be at fault.

Category B of divorce grounds is on the basis that one individual is responsible for the marriage’s destruction. This category includes an individual developing a mental illness that is beyond repair. Certain requirements apply for mental incapacity. Before a divorce case can be filed for this reasoning, the individual in question must first be examined by a mental professional and be adjudicated as being permanently incapacitated under Florida statute 744.331.

At least three years must pass before a divorce may be filed after incapacity has been determined according to Florida statutes 61.052.

If a spouse wishes to apply for dissolution of marriage certain requirements must be met which are outlined below:

  1. There must be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  2. One of the spouses must have proof of mental incapacity. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.052

Filing for Divorce

Filing for divorce can be a very lengthy process and will include several necessary documents. The documents can range from ten different forms to as many as twenty different forms for a single divorce petition.

The number of necessary documents depends on the length of the marriage, the children involved, the grounds for divorce, and spousal support. Some of these documents can include a Final Disposition Form, a Waiver form, an Answer form, an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness form, a Family Law Financial Affidavit form, and a Marital Settlement Agreement Form.

Filing with the Court in Florida

You must file your Florida divorce papers in the court located in the County where you presently reside. We will provide the court information in the documents that we send to you, but some of the courts in Florida are listed below:

Miami-Dade County Courthouse:
73 West Flagler Street, Suite # 242 | Miami, Florida 33130 Telephone: (305) 275-1155

Hillsborough County:
George E. Edgecomb Courthouse 800 East Twiggs Street Tampa, Florida 33601 (813) 276-8100 Ext. 4358 Fax: (813) 272-6792

Duval County Courthouse:
330 East Bay Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202 Tel: (904) 630-2230

Leon County Courthouse:
301 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL. 32302 Tel: (850) 577-4000 Fax: (850) 577-4013

Orange County Courthouse:
425 N. Orange Avenue, P.O. Box 4994, Orlando, FL 32801 Phone: (407) 836-2000 Fax: (407) 836-2269

Sarasota County Circuit Court:
Sarasota County Courthouse, 2000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34236 Phone: (941) 861-7400

Pinellas County Circuit Court:
Clearwater Courthouse, 315 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756 Phone: (727) 464-3341; Civil: 727-464-3267

Escambia County Circuit Court:
M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, 190 Governmental Center, Pensacola, FL 32502 Phone: 850-595-4130 (civil)

Alachua County Circuit Court:
Alachua County Family / Civil Justice Center, 201 East University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32602-0600 Phone: (352) 374-3636

Volusia County Circuit Court:
Volusia County Courthouse, 101 N. Florida, DeLand, FL 32724 Phone: (386)736-5915 (general) (386) 736-5907 (civil)

Broward County Circuit Court:
Broward County Judicial Complex, 201 SE 6th Street, Ft Lauderdale, Fl. 33301 Phone: (954) 831-6565 (civil)

Collier County Circuit Court:
Courthouse, 3301 E. Tamiami Trail, Bldg. L / 5th Floor, Naples, FL. 34112 Phone: (239) 252-2745 Fax: 239-252-2755

If your County court is not listed, the information for your court will be included in the divorce papers we send you.

Division of property when divorcing in Florida

All property within a marriage will be distributed equitably as stated in Florida law. Equitable means that the property will be divided fairly between the individuals and not necessarily equally.

Property distribution depends on the length of the marriage, personal debts, child custody, career opportunities, contribution to the household, education, economic status, and many others. The individual who has custody of any subsequent children will most often receive the family home in a settlement so that the children will not be subject to change.

In joint custody circumstances, either individual may receive the rights to the home unless the individual who receives the home in the settlement does not want it.

As with any state in the USA, the courts favor the spouses themselves in reaching an agreement when it comes to dividing property. In the case of this not being possible the courts will split property equitably. This means they will make the split in what is deemed fairway. They will consider the following:

  1. Property will be classed as being marital property or not
  2. Any property classed as being marital will receive a monetary value
  3. This value is then distributed between the spouses based on the facts outlined below
  1. How each of the spouses has contributed to the marriage
  2. The economic circumstances of each of the spouses
  3. How long the marriage lasted
  4. Interruption of the career of the spouses
  5. The contribution by any spouse towards the other career
  6. If the marital home is needed as a residence for children until they are a reasonable age
  7. Any other factors contribute towards being able to distribute property fairly. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.075 and 61.077

Child custody factors

If the courts are to decide child custody then they will favor the best interests of the child. They will take into account the following when deciding on what is best for the child:

  • The father will have the same rights as the mother when it comes to determining custody so custody may be awarded to either of the spouses
  • Both spouses are encouraged to share equal responsibility for the child
  • The courts will encourage frequent contact for both spouses when it comes to the child. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.13

Of course, the court does prefer that spouses work out custody issues between the spouses and court invention is only undertaken as a last resort if no amicable solution for child custody can be reached.

Child support factors when divorcing in Florida

The courts may ask that either of the spouses pay out child support based on different factors set out in Florida Statutes Annotated; Chapter 61.30

  • The medical, dental, and health care costs of the child
  • Whether the parent deemed as the custodial one receives both child support and spousal support
  • The variations in a spouse’s income and outgoings
  • The age of the child
  • Whether or not the family has any special needs
  • The terms of any shared parenting agreement
  • The assets in total of the parent and the child
  • The impact on the exemption from IRS dependency
  • Any reasons the court may believe will have an effect on equitability

Along with child support, the courts may ask that spouses pay equally for any health and life insurance costs. Child support costs may be ordered by the courts to be paid through the state depository. Florida Statutes Annotated; Chapters 61.13 and 61.30

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