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Florida Divorce Law

Sometimes a marriage ends simply because both spouses have grown apart. Other times there are legitimate reasons why you'd want a divorce from your spouse, like adultery or domestic abuse. No matter how you came to this point, you're looking for a way out of a broken marriage and could use some help.

LawInfo's Florida Divorce Law articles can help relieve some of the stress of the process. You'll learn about the state's divorce prerequisites, how property is divided and many other divorce topics. Whether you need assistance in Tampa, Miami or Orlando, LawInfo can help connect you with a Florida divorce attorney.

Florida No-Fault Divorces

Florida is one of several "no-fault" divorce states, meaning that the petitioning spouse is not required to provide a reason for the divorce outside of an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage.

There are a number of benefits and drawbacks to a no-fault divorce. A domestically abusive marriage can end easier since there may be apparent evidence of an irretrievable breakdown. However, if only one spouse is petitioning for divorce, any efforts by the other spouse to dispute the divorce may be judged as evidence of an irretrievable breakdown.

Simplified vs. Regular Divorces in Florida

There are two types of divorces in Florida: simplified and regular divorces. The simple difference between the two is whether both spouses agree that their marriage suffered an irretrievable breakdown.

If both spouses agree that there is an irretrievable breakdown and they are able to make agreements about the details of their divorce, they can petition the court for a simplified divorce. This is often a less expensive way to end a marriage.

If neither spouse can agree about the state of their marriage or the terms of their divorce, one spouse can petition for a regular divorce. The County Clerk will then serve the respondent spouse with the divorce petition. The respondent can either contest or agree with the terms of the divorce within 20 days of receiving the petition. If no response is made after 20 days, the court may judge the divorce as uncontested.

Equitable Distribution in Florida

In many Florida divorce cases, property isn't equally divided between spouses. Florida is an "equitable distribution" state, which means that marital property is divided in often unequal but fair proportions based on each spouse's financial needs prior to calculating alimony.

Marital property doesn't include:

  • Gifts given to a spouse during the marriage.
  • Inherited property.
  • Insurance payouts or damages from personal injury lawsuits.
  • Separate property owned by a spouse prior to their marriage.

When a judge makes a decision about how a couple's marital property will be equitably distributed, they consider a number of statutory factors to determine each spouse's financial needs. Those factors include:

  • Each spouse's contribution to the marriage, their children and each other.
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • A spouse's desire for retaining specific assets, including the marital home as a residence for their children or family.
  • Each spouse's economic circumstances following the divorce.

Speak to an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today

This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.

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