Understanding Florida Divorce Laws
Divorce Requirements for Florida Residents
For a Florida divorce court to process a divorce petition, either the petitioner, the respondent, or both parties have lived in the State of Florida for at least six months prior to filing. Sufficient evidence to prove one’s Florida residency must be supplied. The residency requirements must first be met before a divorce complaint in Florida could proceed.
Florida Grounds For Divorce
Unlike in other States that list many grounds for divorce, there are only two grounds for the dissolution of marriage in Florida:
- Irretrievably broken marriage, which could be caused by domestic violence and other abuses or personal differences beyond fixing
- Mental illness or incapacity of either party for at least 3 years prior to the divorce filing, proven by medical records and psychiatric testimonies.
Child Custody Law in Florida
Divorce becomes harder and more painful when it involves a child. In Florida, Family Courts look at the best interests of the child in deciding over child custody. Shared Custody Arrangement or Time-Sharing where both parents are given the liberty to spend valuable time with their child, is popular in Florida. In a Shared Custody Arrangement or Time-Sharing, one parent is granted physical custody while the other is granted generous visitation.
Should the parent who was awarded physical custody decide to relocate to a new home with the child, both parents would have to sign an agreement or consent and submit it to court, along with other requirements.
Florida Family Courts take into consideration the following factors and more:
- each parent’s likelihood to respect and follow a Time-Sharing agreement with the other parent; each parent’s tendency to allow a continuous and meaningful relationship with the non-custodial parent;
- mental, moral, and physical health of each party involved;
- evidence of domestic violence, neglect, sexual abuse;
- stability of child’s environment at home, school, and community.
Guidelines for Florida Child Support
The State of Florida uses Child Support Guidelines Worksheet in calculating how much monetary support the parties must be providing the child, even if both parents are granted equal Time-Sharing. Visitation rights of a parent are not curtailed should he or she fail to comply with his or her child support obligation. Child support will continue until the child reaches 18 yrs old or throughout his or her high school education.
Where to file for a divorce?
Florida Divorce Forms may be filed where the respondent or the couple last resided together in Florida.
For a fast and inexpensive divorce process, you can file Florida online divorce forms.
Refer to the “Divorce Requirements for Florida Residents” above and also review the best online divorce sites.
Mediation is available in Florida and is probably the least painful way of resolving disputed items in a divorce petition. Mediation agreements are decided by the parties involved and are confidential, instead of those decided by the courts. After filing your Florida divorce forms, ask for a mediator to facilitate amicable settlement with your spouse that both of you have the power to decide upon.
Need information for a different state?
You may also visit the Florida Courts for more information