What are the legal grounds for divorce in Florida?
Before you file for divorce, it's important to understand what legal grounds the state recognizes for divorce, so that you can know how to proceed. The simplest legal ground for divorce is that your spouse is found to be mentally incapacitated for at least three years. Considering that most divorces are not filed under this circumstance, you're left with filing for divorce under the grounds that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
If you wish to seek a divorce under the grounds that your marriage is irretrievably broken, your spouse will have 20 days to file a response to the dissolution of marriage after being served. If they choose to disagree with the terms of the dissolution, a court date will be set and you will be forced to seek a contested dissolution. If they choose not to contest the dissolution of marriage, a final hearing will be scheduled to begin the process of separating assets and finalizing your divorce.
How does Florida deal with property division?
Florida is considered an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets and debts are to be distributed in a fair and equitable manner whenever possible. Typically the court will take things like child support, time-sharing, and alimony awards into consideration when deciding how to divide the property and debts. Generally speaking, when the court is deciding how to divide the assets, they will take into account a variety of factors that include but are not limited to the following:
- The economic circumstances of both parties.
- The length of the marriage.
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including any contributions to the care and education of any children.
- The disruption of personal careers or educational opportunities for both parties.
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income.
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party.
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after filing for divorce, or two years prior to the filing of the divorce.
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At the end of the day, divorce proceedings can become infinitely more complex without adequate legal counsel and representation. I try to remind all of my clients that as difficult as divorce proceedings can be, they truly don't have to be. I can help protect what's important to you while walking you through the process as quickly and painlessly as possible. If you or someone you know is facing a difficult divorce, call my office today to find out how I've helped countless others just like you.