Statistics show that in 2020, there were three divorces per one thousand Florida residents. If you are contemplating divorce—like most of those who have been in a similar situation—you will find there are just as many decisions to be made as emotions to deal with. When you have an experienced divorce lawyer on your side, though, you can work through these changes in your life while your attorney ensures your best interests are protected.
Is Florida a No-Fault State for Divorce?
California was the first state in the U.S. to implement no-fault divorce—in 1969. No-fault divorce means either party may seek a divorce without providing or proving a reason for the divorce. This encourages a non-adversarial dissolution of marriage. Most no-fault divorces state “irreconcilable differences,” or claim the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Even though Florida is a no-fault state, claims of adultery can, in some cases, affect asset division, or possibly even child custody. Adultery is still identified as a crime in the state of Florida, so the state could technically prosecute a spouse for a second-degree misdemeanor. This is exceedingly rare, but during divorce proceedings, multiple different scenarios can unfold.
Alleging adultery is not sufficient—the allegations must always have sufficient proof. Additionally, if one parent could definitively prove that the other parent’s adultery either had or could have an adverse impact on the child, such a finding could negatively impact timesharing and visitation. Adultery could also affect how marital property and debts are divided.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets are divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. If the court determines that one spouse intentionally wasted marital assets as a result of the adultery, this may be “equalized” through the award of additional assets in the divorce.
What Are the Requirements for a Divorce in Florida?
Each state has its own requirements for divorce. In the state of Florida, one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months. The exception is if you are a member of the military with an official residence in Florida but are stationed outside the state. If you meet residency requirements, you can move forward by filing a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse that files this form is known as the Petitioner, while the other is the Respondent.
After filing this form, a copy must be provided to the Respondent by the Petitioner (“serving” the divorce papers). The responding spouse will file an Answer and Waiver of Service (if he or she agrees to be served) which must be signed and notarized. If your spouse does not agree to be served, the sheriff in your county can serve the papers. If you don’t know your spouse’s current location, you can serve via “constructive service,” which involves placing an ad in a local newspaper.
Within 45 days of filing the Petition, you must submit a signed financial affidavit that includes income, assets, debts, tax returns, bank and credit card statements, and personal financial statements. The court could require you and your spouse to attend mediation, to avoid involving the court. If mediation is not entirely successful, the judge will make final decisions on all contested issues. Florida offers a simplified dissolution of marriage under the following circumstances:
- You both agree your marriage is irretrievably broken
- Both spouses agree to the simplified dissolution of marriage
- Neither spouse is seeking alimony
- There are no minor or dependent children
- One spouse has resided in Florida for at least six months
- Neither spouse is pregnant
- There are no disagreements regarding the division of assets
A custody schedule, child support, and spousal support will also either be agreed upon by both parties—or the court will make those decisions.
How the Lauriston Law Firm Can Help
The divorce lawyer you choose will have a significant bearing on the outcome of your divorce. When you choose the Lauriston Law Firm, you will see we are dedicated to every client. We understand the divorce issues that are important to you—and how the resolution to those issues can affect you for many years to come. We are a leading Fort Lauderdale law firm with many years of experience in family law. Contact a divorce lawyer from Lauriston Law Firm for effective, high-quality family law services that offer you a chance for a successful outcome.