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Before filing for divorce in Florida-or even discussing divorce with your spouse-hire a divorce attorney to understand your legal options, as well as the requirements and process for getting divorced.
Divorce Law Basics
In Florida, the divorce process begins when one of the spouses files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court in the county where you live. Prior to filing for divorce, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months.
If you and your spouse meet certain requirements, you may be able to file a Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.
Florida allows for a no-fault divorce, meaning you don't need to allege or prove your spouse is to blame for the divorce. Instead, the divorce petition will state your marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning you cannot overcome your differences and remain within the marriage.
As part of the divorce process, you and your spouse will have to reach agreement on:
If you and your spouse, with the help of your divorce lawyers, cannot agree on how these issues will be addressed, then the judge hearing your case will make decisions on your behalf.
Property Division & Alimony
Marital property is jointly-owned property that must be divided as part of the divorce process. All assets and debts acquired during the marriage, either individually or separately, are considered marital property. The only time assets acquired during marriage are considered non-marital is when they were acquired through gift or inheritance specifically to only one of the spouses.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property must be divided equitably. "Equitable" means "fair," but does not always legally mean the same as "equal."
Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a payment ordered by the court from one spouse to another. Whether and how much alimony is granted depends upon a number factors, such as the length of the marriage and the financial resources of each party.
Child Custody & Support
Florida law encourages the courts to award some form of joint custody to the parents, although primary focus is always given to determining an arrangement that would be in the best interests of the child. The parent without primary custody is generally ordered to pay child support, with the monthly support amount determined according to statutory guidelines.
Find & Hire Local Florida Divorce Attorneys
Whether you live in Miami or Jacksonville, Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, Attorneys.com can help you locate divorce lawyers and family law attorneys in your area. Call 877-913-7222 to use our free service, or complete the form on this page.