Site Navigation

St. Petersburg Divorce & Family Lawyers
Divorce | Custody | Support | Adoption

5 star rated attorneyThe Florida Bar Badge


What You Need To Know About Divorce In Florida

If you are planning to file for divorce in Florida, you need to get in touch with a divorce attorney before even mentioning or discussing the option of divorce with your spouse. A divorce attorney will help you understand your legal options. The attorney will also inform you about the divorce process as well as any requirements that you need to fulfill in order to file for divorce in Florida.

How does the divorce process begin?

The divorce process starts as soon as one of the spouses files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court. This petition has to be submitted in the circuit court in the county where you or both you and your spouse live. For you to be able to file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must have lived in the state of Florida for a period of at least six months.

This is called the residency requirement for a Florida divorce. If the residency requirement is not met, the court will not accept the case. Each state has its own laws when it comes to divorce, and the state of Florida has its own laws regarding dissolution of marriage. These laws define who is eligible to file for a divorce in Florida.

Once you meet the requirements to file for divorce, you may be able to file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

No-fault divorce

In the state of Florida, the spouse filing for divorce does not need to have a reason in order to go ahead with the divorce. This is referred to as the no-fault divorce law in Florida. The spouse filing for divorce does not need to allege or prove anything in order to blame their spouse. Whatever the reason, the divorce petition will mention that the marriage is permanently broken and that the spouses cannot overcome their differences in order to remain within the marriage.

Reaching a mutual agreement

In order to go ahead with the divorce, the spouses need to be able to reach an agreement mutually in matters like child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and division of debts and assets. Both parties can get help from their lawyers or choose a mediator in order to reach a decision. In case that fails, then a judge will make decisions during the hearing.

Division of Property

Jointly-owned property, also referred to as marital property has to be divided as part of the divorce process. Assets and debts that are acquired during the marriage, whether individually or separately by the spouses, are considered marital property. However, if any assets were acquired as gift or if they were inherited, then they will not be considered marital property and will not be divided among the spouses.

Equitable distribution of marital property

In Florida, marital property has to be divided fairly or equitably. However, that does not mean “equal” distribution of the property legally.

Spousal Support or Maintenance

Spousal support or maintenance, also referred to as alimony, is the payment that has to be paid by one spouse to the other. In divorce cases, alimony is usually ordered by court. Several factors are taken into consideration when granting alimony, such as the duration of the marriage, financial resources of each party and so on.

Child support and custody

Under Florida law, courts are encouraged to award some form of joint custody to the parents. Whatever decision is taken, it is based on the best interests of the child. The parent who is awarded custody of the child is generally the one who receives child support from the non-custodial parent. The amount of monthly support is determined according to statutory guidelines.