As our fourth most populated state, Florida has one of the highest per capita divorce rates in the nation. The Floridians however, don’t call it divorce, they call it dissolution. As long as one of the parties has lived in Florida for six months, they can file a petition for dissolution without having to show fault on the part of the other spouse. All that is required is to show that the marriage is irreconcilable and broken beyond repair. The other side has 20 days to respond to the petition for dissolution. The filing petitioner must include a list of all assets and debts. If either party earns over $50,000 per year, additional affidavits with greater financial detail will be required. If the other party does not respond to the petition, a Florida divorce court can dissolve the marriage without the other parties’ knowledge or consent.
If one spouse has moved out of Florida it is still possible to obtain dissolution, but the courts will not be able to make binding decisions concerning any property located in a different state. Florida has no provision for legal separation or common law marriages. If a petitioner living in Florida cannot locate a spouse, publication of the fact of divorce in a newspaper for a specified length of time can clear the way for permanent dissolution.
When both spouses agree that a marriage is broken and a divorce is necessary, they can introduce a written stipulation agreeing to mutually end the marriage. If both parties agree to the issues of the dissolution, a legally binding Settlement Agreement will be drawn up listing all property, asset and child custody provisions.
Although Florida does not allow fault as a grounds for divorce, the division of assets and property can still become a contested matter. Florida is an equitable property state and the court decides all property split issues based on what is fair to each party involved. Florida divorce courts operate on the premise that property should be split equally unless one party shows evidence they are entitled to particular assets individually. Florida divorce courts almost always prefer prior settlements to court intervention, and a case will go to trial only if the parties absolutely disagree on the settlement issues.
Going through a divorce is a stressful event that can become even more problematic if you don’t know your basic rights and legal responsibilities. You can talk to friends, relatives and other knowledgeable persons, but only a lawyer can give you real legal advice. A qualified divorce attorney in Florida will answer all legal questions concerning your rights, your children’s rights, your responsibilities and any tax or other financial consequences arising from your divorce. You can find a competent lawyer versed in Florida family law at our Find a Lawyer pages here at Divorce.com. A good lawyer will help you make decisions that will best serve your interests and the interests of your family.
Factors Affecting Marital Property Distribution in Florida
- Length of the marriage
- Economic situation of both parties
- Income contribution of each spouse
- Dependent Children in the home
- Contributions to career or education of other spouse
- Intentional destruction of assets
Factors Affecting Alimony Distribution in Florida:
- Duration of marriage
- Standard of living during marriage
- Financial resources of each spouse
- Time necessary for either spouse to retrain or find employment
- Contributions during the marriage by each spouse
- Sources of income