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Florida Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Florida.

You can get more specific information regarding Florida divorce laws using the links provided to Florida divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Florida Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements One of the spouses must have been a resident for 6 months prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. To meet the laws in Florida for residency requirements you must have one of the following
  • A valid Florida license, Florida ID, or Florida voter registration card
  • An affidavit of corroborating witness
  • Testimony from someone who will say that you have lived in Florida for at least 6 months
Where to File The dissolution of marriage should be filed in either: the county where the defendant resides or the county where the spouses last lived together prior to separating.
Grounds for Divorce Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
Mental incapacity for at least 3 years
Voluntary or required mediation If there are minor children involved, or if 1 of the spouses denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may delay the proceedings for up to 3 months and may order the spouses to seek counseling, order the spouses to attempt reconciliation, or order the spouses to attend mediation sessions
Voluntary or recommended CounselingIf there are minor children involved, or if 1 of the spouses denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may delay the proceedings for up to 3 months and may order the spouses to seek counseling, order the spouses to attempt reconciliation, or order the spouses to attend mediation sessions
Property Distribution In distributing the marital assets and liabilities between the parties, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including:
  • The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
  • The economic circumstances of the parties.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
  • The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
  • The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
  • The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
  • The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
  • Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
If the court awards a cash payment for the purpose of equitable distribution of marital assets, to be paid in full or in installments, the full amount ordered shall vest when the judgment is awarded and the award shall not terminate upon remarriage or death of either party, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties, but shall be treated as a debt owed from the obligor or the obligor's estate to the obligee or the obligee's estate, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties.
Child Custody The courts show preference for shared parental responsibility (joint legal custody) in Florida Statute 61.13(2)(b)1: "It is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or divorce, and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities and joys of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child, irrespective of the age or sex of the child."

Florida Laws on Best Interest of the Child. 61.13(3)
When awarding child custody in Florida, the court will consider all factors affecting the welfare and interests of the child, including but not limited to:
  • The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent.
  • The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
  • The moral fitness of the parents.
  • The mental and physical health of the parents.
  • The home, school, and community record of the child.
  • The reasonable preference of the child as to custody, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuous parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding.
  • Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
  • Any other fact not specifically expressed in these laws that the court considers to be relevant.
Child Support In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may at any time order either or both parents who owe a duty of support to a child to pay support in accordance with the guidelines in s. 61.30. The court initially entering an order requiring one or both parents to make child support payments shall have continuing jurisdiction after the entry of the initial order to modify the amount and terms and conditions of the child support payments when the modification is found necessary by the court in the best interests of the child, when the child reaches majority, or when there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties. The court initially entering a child support order shall also have continuing jurisdiction to require the obligee to report to the court on terms prescribed by the court regarding the disposition of the child support payments.
Spousal Support In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may grant alimony to either party, which alimony may be rehabilitative or permanent in nature. In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments or payments in lump sum or both. The court may consider the adultery of either spouse and the circumstances thereof in determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. In all dissolution actions, the court shall include findings of fact relative to the factors enumerated in subsection (2) supporting an award or denial of alimony.
In determining a proper award of alimony or maintenance, the court shall consider all relevant economic factors, including but not limited to:
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
  • The financial resources of each party, the nonmarital and the marital assets and liabilities distributed to each.
  • When applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable such party to find appropriate employment.
  • The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party.
  • All sources of income available to either party.
The court may consider any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.


Florida Divorce Attorneys by County

Florida Divorce Mediators by County


DISCLAIMER:
This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.