Decoding Divorce Law in Florida: Your Top Questions Answered
By: Katie Kohn, Esq.
Divorce can be a challenging and emotional process. As difficult as it may seem, having the correct information at your fingertips is essential to navigating this complex process. This post aims to tackle a few frequently asked questions regarding divorce in Florida, providing you with valuable insights to understand marital dissolution in the Sunshine State.
How long do I have to be a Florida resident to file for divorce?
To file for divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must be a resident of Florida for at least six months before initiating the divorce process.
What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning you don’t need to prove any specific reasons for wanting a divorce. The only requirement is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which essentially means that the relationship cannot be repaired.
How is property divided in a Florida divorce?
The division of marital property in Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that marital assets and debts are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Factors the court considers include the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions, and their overall economic circumstances.
Can I get alimony in a Florida divorce?
Yes, alimony, or spousal support, is a possibility in Florida divorces. Courts consider several factors when determining the amount and duration of alimony, including the length of the marriage, the financial needs of each spouse, and their ability to pay.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Florida?
The timeline for finalizing a divorce in Florida varies widely depending on the complexity of the case, court availability, and other factors. On average, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more.
Do I need an attorney for my Florida divorce?
While having an attorney for your divorce is not legally required, it is highly recommended. A seasoned divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance, ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly, and protect your rights throughout the process.
What about child custody and support in Florida divorces?
Child custody and support arrangements are determined based on the child’s best interests. Florida courts prioritize the child’s well-being and encourage co-parenting whenever possible. Factors considered include each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment. For a comprehensive explanation regarding child support, read “How is Child Support Calculated in Florida,” by my colleague Iman Zekri.
Are there alternatives to traditional divorce litigation in Florida?
Certainly! In addition to traditional litigation, couples in Florida can explore alternatives like mediation and collaborative divorce. These options can be less adversarial and more focused on finding mutually acceptable solutions. The article “The Power of Mediation in Florida Divorce Cases: Finding Common Ground for a Peaceful Resolution,” by my colleague Christy O’Brien, explains the mediation process.
What if my spouse and I agree on all the issues in our divorce?
If you and your spouse are able to agree on the issues in your divorce, you will need to put those agreements in a formal written document called a Marital Settlement Agreement, which both parties must sign before a notary. Once the Agreement is signed, you will need to file it with the court. The judge will then grant your divorce in a Final Judgment and adopt your Agreement as an Order of the court.
Can I modify my divorce Final Judgment in Florida?
Yes, it is possible to request modifications to child custody, child support, and alimony if there is a substantial change in circumstances. The process to modify the provisions of a Final Judgment largely mimics the process of the initial divorce case and can be a lengthy process.
What can I do if my ex-spouse does not follow the Final Judgment or Parenting Plan?
If your ex-spouse is not following an order or Final Judgment regarding child custody, child support, alimony, or property division, there are enforcement and contempt remedies available. Usually, enforcing the terms of a Final Judgment or Settlement Agreement involves filing the proper motion with the court and having a hearing on the issues before the judge.
Divorce is a significant life event, and understanding the nuances of Florida divorce law can help you navigate the process more effectively.
If you are facing a divorce in Florida and need assistance, I can be reached at email@example.com.