Florida Divorce Law

Like all the other states in the country, Florida has its own set of divorce laws. When a married couple has decided their relationship is no longer worth salvaging, divorce may be the only option they consider. The general requirements for getting a divorce according to Florida divorce law are essentially the same as for other states. At least one member of the married couple must be a legal resident of the state for at least six months before the couple decides to file for divorce. The party who files must also visit their local circuit court and get a form for Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The form must come from the court in the county in which the person lives. It is also required that the spouse be made aware of the petition as they have 20 days to file a response to the petition. 

If the other spouse doesn’t respond within the 20 days, the person filing for the divorce can file a motion for default. To do this, Florida divorce law requires the individual to the clerk of court and file out certain forms, as well as set a final hearing. The person filing must also notify their spouse of the hearing with a Notice of Hearing. The next step is that the respondent can either agree or disagree and file a notice for trial. When this occurs, it is considered a contested divorce. With a contested divorce, it’s wise to retain a skilled divorce attorney. If the spouse agrees with the divorce, it is an uncontested divorce and the hearing can proceed as long as all pertinent forms are filed. 

Marriage Presumptions in Florida

According to Florida divorce law, two people are considered legally married when they have had a ceremony and live together with the belief that they are married. 

What are the Terms of Divorce in Florida?

If a person is filing for divorce, there are certain things to consider, which makes it extremely important to know what they want to gain from the divorce. One of these things is whether the wife will keep her married name or go back to her maiden name after the divorce is final. Whatever the aspects, it’s important to acknowledge what’s most important to each party and to properly proceed when filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. However, even if both parties agree to all of the conditions of the divorce, they should file a Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage. If the marriage produced children, they should file a Marital Settlement Agreement for Dissolution of Marriage with Dependent or Minor Children, which can ensure that the divorce proceedings go smoothly. 

In general, there are two specific grounds for divorce according to Florida divorce law. They include the following: 

• The marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved 
• One of the spouses has been mentally incapacitated for over three years 

How a Married Couple Can Qualify for Simplified Dissolution

In the state of Florida, a couple can qualify for a sampled dissolution of marriage as long as certain requirements are met. They include the following: 

• The two spouses mutually agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be salvaged 
• Both spouses agree to give up their rights to a trial or appeal 
• Both spouses will go to the clerk of court’s office and sign the petition 
• The wife is not pregnant and there are no children or dependents in the marriage 
• Neither spouse is requesting alimony 
• The spouses have agreed on how to divide their property and debts 
• Neither spouse is requesting financial information other than court-approved financial documents 
• Both spouses will attend the final hearing 

Once the two parties file and submit all the pertinent documents to the clerk of court, they will get the date and time for their court appearance. If both parties appear at the hearing and all the paperwork is in order, the judge can then hand down the final judgment for dissolution of the marriage. The divorce is officially final after the judge signs a Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. 

It’s important to note that both spouses are required to appear together before the judge at the hearing. If all the paperwork is in order, the judge can grant the final judgment to dissolve the marriage as a simplified dissolution of marriage by signing the Final Judgment of Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This document is required to be provided by the soon-to-be-former couple. 

Division of Property in Florida Divorces

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all the property amassed throughout the course of the marriage is divided in an equal and fair manner. Additionally, per Florida divorce law, other things are considered as well, including alimony awards, child support and other responsibilities each party had throughout the marriage. Generally, per Florida divorce law, the court considers certain factors when determining property division during a divorce, including the following: 

• Length of the marriage 
• The economic circumstances of each party 
• The contributions of each spouse during the marriage, including child care, education and more 
• A spouse’s wishes to retain an asset and to be free of a claim from the other party 
• Contributions made to one spouse by the other for education or career enhancement 
• A spouse’s wishes to retain the marital home for the benefit of a dependent child 
• Contributions from each party toward marital and non-marital assets 
• Vested and non-vested benefits, pensions, funds, retirement or insurance plans other other things subject to distribution 

Alimony in Florida Divorces

As per Florida divorce law, alimony is classified in four distinct categories. The court can order periodic payments or lump sum payments or even both. Either spouse can request the support as it is based on need as opposed to the other spouse’s ability to pay. The alimony categories include the following: 

Bridge-the-Gap: This is a type of payment that is made to help one spouse in the short term as they work toward being independent. It lasts no longer than two years. 
Rehabilitative: This type of payment is meant to help one party become self-sufficient by developing skills through education, training or work. 
Permanent: This type of support is in place when one spouse is financially unable to support themselves. However, it is usually not awarded if the marriage was short unless there are exceptional circumstances in place. 
Durational: This type of support is awarded to someone whose marriage was short to moderate in duration. 

Child Support in Florida Divorces

Florida divorce law involves the Income Shares Model when taking child support into consideration. This takes both parents’ income to consider how much money each contributes toward the child. 

In some cases, a health insurance provision is included in a child support order for minor children. Health insurance costs do not go over five percent of the parent’s gross income. In some cases, the court can require that the parent paying child support buy a life insurance policy to protect the child support order.

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