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Divorce in Florida

Divorce in Florida



In the last decade, Florida’s divorce laws have experienced substantial transformations, reflecting the state’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework while ensuring fairness, transparency, and the well-being of families involved in divorce proceedings. From property division to child custody, these changes underscore Florida’s dedication to addressing the needs of contemporary families. This article outlines the key updates in Florida’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in a concise bullet point format:

2013 – No-Fault Divorce Embrace:

   – Florida reaffirms its commitment to no-fault divorce, allowing couples to seek divorce without assigning blame.

2014 – Child Custody Focus on Best Interests:

   – Adoption of child custody guidelines centered on the best interests of the child.

   – Encouragement of shared parenting arrangements for consistent involvement of both parents.

2015 – Equitable Property Division Guidelines:

   – Clarification of property distribution rules to ensure fair division of marital assets.

   – Consideration of factors like contributions, duration of marriage, and individual needs.

2016 – Alimony Guidelines Implementation:

   – Introduction of alimony guidelines to provide transparency and consistency in spousal support awards.

   – Factors such as duration of marriage, financial circumstances, and earning capacity are considered.

2017 – Digital Documentation Acceptance:

   – Florida embraces digital documentation and electronic signatures in divorce proceedings for increased efficiency.

2018 – Comprehensive Parenting Plans Focus:

   – Emphasis on detailed parenting plans that outline custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

   – Prioritization of the child’s well-being and nurturing environment.

2019 – Streamlined Divorce Process:

   – Implementation of measures to expedite the divorce process, reducing unnecessary delays.

2020 – Regular Child Support Review:

   – Periodic review and potential adjustment of child support guidelines to reflect changing economic realities.

2021 – Strengthening Domestic Violence Protections:

   – Reinforcement of provisions protecting victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022 – Online Filing and Resource Accessibility:

    – Introduction of online divorce filing options for enhanced accessibility and convenience.

    – Provision of online resources to guide divorcing couples through the process.

2022 – Encouragement of Alternative Dispute Resolution:

    – Promotion of mediation and collaborative approaches to minimize adversarial litigation.

2023 – Alimony Guidelines Review:

    – Consideration of updates to alimony guidelines to ensure fairness and adequacy in award determinations.

2023 – Special Considerations for Military Divorces:

    – Implementation of measures addressing unique aspects of military divorces, including deployment and benefits.

2023 – Complex Financial Divorces:

    – Exploration of specialized guidelines for high-asset or intricate financial divorces.

Florida’s divorce laws have evolved significantly over the past decade, reflecting the state’s commitment to modernizing its legal framework while prioritizing fairness and the well-being of all parties involved. These changes underscore Florida’s proactive approach to addressing the complexities of divorce in contemporary society. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains vital for stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to engage in informed discussions that uphold the principles of justice and equity, supporting families navigating the intricate process of divorce.

Residency and Filing Needs

One requirement is mandatory for divorce in Florida. Firstly, you will need to know that the ‘Petitioner’ is the spouse filing for divorce, and the ‘Respondent’ is the spouse receiving the petition.

Here’s the one requirement:

• One of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least six months, and the divorce can be filed in either the party’s county.

Reasons for Divorce in Florida

Regardless of fault, Florida state law demands that proof of dissolution of marriage fall under these grounds:

1) The Marriage Has to Be “Irretrievably Broken”

2) Or the Court Finds That One of the Parties Is in Fact Mentally Incapacitated

The Definition of “Legal Separation” Versus “Divorce”

Of course, both parties to a marriage may choose “legal separation.” However, how does that differ from “divorce”?

A legal separation means a split-up of the husband and wife while keeping the marriage intact, basically. Reasons for this include health insurance and tax issues. Of course, most of the time a legal separation eventually leads to a petition for divorce.

The Primary Documents For a Divorce in Florida

Anywhere between ten or twenty documents can be included in the process, not limited to these particular documents:

• Affidavit of Corroborating Witness

• Marital Settlement Agreement

• Family Law Financial Affidavit

• Answer, Waiver, and Final Disposition Form

• Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

• And Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage

Divorce in Florida : Property Distribution

For divorce in Florida, “equitable distribution” is the standard followed by the courts. The standard means in a nutshell that all assets are divided equally without regard to monetary value. It stresses fairness for both parties in the situation.

The court may also encourage both parties to come to some kind of agreement in regards to property distribution. If, however, both parties can’t agree, the court will then employ the standard.

In addition, the wife’s last name may be changed back to the maiden or former upon request of the court.

Divorce in Florida : On the Subject of Spousal Support

In regards to alimony, it’s common knowledge that this stipulation varies from case to case and is only ordered when the appropriate evidence is brought up by either or both parties.

Dealing With Child Custody

Both parties will have to consider four different forms of child custody when it comes to divorce in Florida:

• Joint Physical Custody

• Sole Physical Custody

• Joint Legal Custody

• Sole Legal Custody

“Joint Physical Custody” means the ‘sharing’ of physical responsibilities, such as food, clothing, transportation, etc. etc..

“Sole Physical Custody” means that only one parent retains those physical responsibilities while the other parent retains what is called “Visitation Rights.”

“Joint Legal Custody” means the ‘sharing’ of legal responsibilities, such as religion, what school to attend, what doctor to visit, what lifestyle to live, etc. etc. In addition, if the father chooses, the child(ren) will retain their last names.

“Sole Legal Custody” means that only one parent has those legal responsibilities.

Divorce in Florida : How to Determine Child Support If Necessary

Child support is typically paid by the non-custodial parent, following what is called the “Income Shares Model”. Essentially, all W2’s are combined along with other financial worksheets, and from there a suitable amount for the child(ren) is determined.

Both parties, however, can agree on an amount without the need for the court to enforce the Model on the non-custodial parent.