Florida is among the growing number of states that now provide exclusively for “no-fault” divorce. This means that asserting that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” (or that you and your spouse have reached irreconcilable differences) is the sole ground for seeking to end your marriage through divorce.
The idea behind this shift is that it makes it easier to file for a marriage dissolution, and also shortens the time it takes to get through the process.
So, how do you file for no-fault divorce?
Two Ways to Get Divorced
Florida’s no-fault system provides two different methods for obtaining a divorce: regular and simplified.
Filing for a Regular Divorce in Florida
In order to file for divorce in Florida, you only need to show three things:
- That you are legally married
- That you or your spouse has been a resident of Florida for at least the last six months
- That your marriage is “irretrievably broken”
Fault (such as adultery, domestic violence, or abandonment) may come into play when determining rights to alimony, division of property, and parental rights, but it is not a requirement in order to file for divorce.
Filing for a regular divorce starts with submitting a petition for dissolution of marriage (the legal term for divorce) to the appropriate court. Once one spouse submits the petition, the other spouse has 20 days to file an answer after being served. Each spouse will then have 45 days to provide financial information, and the court may schedule hearings to address certain specific issues raised in the petition or answer.
At any time during the divorce proceedings, the spouses can agree to resolve their issues amicably, in which case they can present a proposed settlement agreement to the court. This is typical in uncontested divorces. The couple may also choose to pursue mediation or a collaborative law divorce in order to avoid the time and expense of hashing out their differences in court.
Filing for a Florida Simplified Divorce
Florida’s simplified divorce procedure offers an alternative solution for couples that meet the following additional requirements:
- They have no minors or dependent children
- The wife is not pregnant
- They are in agreement on how to split all of their property and debts
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony
- They agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken
With a simplified divorce, financial disclosures are not required, and the process can be significantly shorter than an adversarial regular divorce proceeding.
Regardless of the type of divorce you choose to file, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the issues involved in ending a marriage. Failure to address certain issues or overlooking key items can lead to costly and emotional disputes down the road.
Hire Beller & Bustamante, P.L. to Help with Your Florida Divorce
Attorneys Rebeccah Beller and Mina Bustamante have more than 35 years of combined experience in helping clients through divorces and other family law matters. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do to help.