What Are Grounds for Divorce in Florida?
Coming to the decision that you no longer want to be married to your spouse is difficult, and likely takes months or years or unhappiness to ultimately reach. Which is why when you do arrive at the conclusion that dissolution of marriage is what’s best for yourself and your future, learning that the state of Florida requires grounds for divorce–that is, a legitimate, legal reason for the separation–can be frustrating. Unlike getting married in Florida, getting divorced in the state takes more than just paying a fee.
If you are thinking about divorce, our experienced attorneys at the law offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A. can help you to understand the grounds on which a divorce may be sought in the state. For more information, call our legal team today.
Grounds for Divorce in Florida
There are only two grounds for divorce in the state of Florida: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and mental incapacity of one of the parties.
It is rare for a divorce to be sought on the grounds of mental incapacity, although it does happen. As found in Florida Statutes Section 61.052(b), divorce based on the grounds of mental incapacity of one of the parties will only be granted in the event that the incapacitated party has been judged so for at least three years.
Seeking a divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is much more common in Florida. “Irretrievable breakdown” is a no-fault ground for divorce, which means that one party is not blaming the divorce on the actions of the other.
The state of Florida does not recognize fault-based grounds for divorce, such as cruelty or adultery, as do some other states.
Filing for Divorce in Pensacola and Surrounding Areas
Unless your spouse is mentally incapacitated, and you have the medical evidence to prove it, you will probably file for a divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Some basics that you need to know about filing for divorce when claiming irretrievable breakdown of the marriage include:
- At least one spouse must have been living in Florida for at least a six-month period prior to filing for divorce to satisfy residency requirements;
- After your file your petition and serve your summons to your spouse, they have 20 days to file an answer; and
- If you are the parent of a minor child, or if your spouse denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, you and your spouse may be ordered to:
- Consult with a marriage counselor, psychiatrist, mediator, or other qualified party; and
- Wait for up to three months for the divorce to be granted (attend a divorce hearing).
In regard to the last point, however, keep in mind that if your divorce or issues in your divorce are contested, it can take months, or even a year or longer, for a resolution to be reached and the court to grant the divorce. Being willing to work with your spouse and compromise to reach a settlement is critical.
Do I Need an Attorney When Pursuing a No-fault Divorce?
If you are seeking a no-fault divorce in Florida, you may be wondering whether you need an attorney. While working with an attorney is never a requirement, keep in mind that even if you and your spouse both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and are in agreement about parting ways, you may not be in agreement about things like how property should be divided, how much alimony you should pay or receive, or how custody should be shared. Working with an attorney can help you negotiate the details of these issues, and ultimately walk away with a divorce settlement you’re comfortable with.
At the law offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett, P.A., we know how complicated divorce can be. When you call our law firm, we’ll work hard for you. If you have questions about the grounds for divorce, or any other issues in a dissolution of marriage case, please call us at 1-888-219-4561, or send us a confidential message using the intake form on our website. You can also visit our law office in person if you’re in the area.