What are the legal grounds for divorce in Florida?
Getting married in Florida is as easy as signing a marriage license and paying a nominal fee; getting a divorce in the Sunshine State is far more complicated. Not only is the process more legally challenging, but the divorcing couple must show the court their plans for dividing property, dividing debt, and caring for shared children, among other things. As a result, getting a divorce without the counsel of an experienced attorney carries a great deal of risk. Our law firm, Brandon Legal Group, is here to assist you with quality legal representation and advice.
Grounds for Divorce in Florida
For a court in Florida to approve a divorce, the plaintiff’s petition must state the grounds for the divorce. In Florida, there are only two legal grounds for divorce:
irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
or mental incapacity of one of the parties
These are defined in the Florida Statutes Section 61.052.
The vast majority of divorces in Hillsborough County are “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” which is a person or couple stating that their marriage has degenerated to the point that it can no longer be saved.
Requirements for Residency
To file for divorce in Florida, the person filing the petition (known as the petitioner) must have resided in the state for at least six months before filing. The petitioner must wait to file if the six-month residency requirement is not met.
Divorce’s Most Common Problems
After you’ve decided on the reasons for your divorce, the following step is to come to terms with and resolve the numerous issues that arise. Some of the most prevalent issues that require care, and which our attorneys are well-versed in, include:
• Division of Property.
When a couple divorces, determining who gets what can be one of the most acrimonious topics, with some couples even going to court and disputing a property split determination. Florida requires an equitable allocation of marital assets (assets acquired by either party during the marriage). Remember that equitable does not always imply equal, and in some situations, one spouse may be granted a more significant property amount than the other. You and your husband should be able to work out a property partition agreement outside of court if possible. We like to caution our divorce clients that paying legal fees to fight over minor property issues is not always a good use of resources.
Spousal maintenance, often known as spousal support or alimony, is another serious issue when spouses divorce. While spouses may agree to a spousal maintenance award without going to court, it is essential to note that if one spouse is unable to support themselves financially (which may include maintaining their standard of living), and the other spouse has acted as the financial provider throughout the marriage, the court is likely to issue an order for spousal support. Often, these orders are finite or temporary and not “forever.” The amount of spousal support awarded is determined by several variables.
Florida courts no longer speak to “custody”; instead, they talk to “Timesharing.” Child Timesharing is one of the most challenging topics for parents after a divorce. No parent enjoys the prospect of losing time with their child or missing out on their child’s development. Although parents who are divorcing are strongly urged to work together, the court will likely require the help of a mediator to develop a parenting plan that works for everyone. For example, suppose parents cannot reach an agreement outside of court. In that case, a child custody case will be brought to court, where a judge will decide custody, parenting time, and legal decision-making power based on the children’s best interests will be handed down from the bench. Going to court can be an emotionally draining, time-consuming, and costly experience for all parties involved.
Child support is calculated based on a formula that includes
- The earnings of each parent
- The timesharing agreement
- The number of children
Judges are allowed a limited amount of leeway when calculating Child Support. However, our attorneys can use the child support worksheet to give you a reasonably close estimate of what the courts are likely to order in Child Support.
Working with a Divorce Attorney Has Its Benefits
Even if you and your spouse agree on all matters (which is uncommon), filing for divorce without the help of a qualified lawyer is rare. Even if you and your divorcing spouse get along swimmingly and file for divorce agreeing on everything, your lawyer should at the very least analyze any proposed settlement before it is finalized to ensure your best interests are protected. Your lawyer can help you by:
- Outlining the many techniques for addressing problems, such as collaborative divorce, mediation, and litigation;
- Assisting you in forming a comprehensive picture of your existing financial condition and how divorce may impact your financial situation, including tax consequences which may not be obvious when you and your spouse are negotiating the terms of your divorce;
- Gathering evidence in support of the issues that are most important to you (for example, evidence explaining why you should have the majority of child timesharing);
- Assisting you in deciding what you should fight for and where you should make concessions;
- Representing you in negotiations;
- Representing you in all conversations with your spouse or their lawyer; and
- If required, litigating your case in court.
Your attorney acts as an advocate, a source of support during the process, and a resource for any concerns or issues you may have.
Get in touch with Brandon Legal Group right now.
Contact the law offices of Brandon Legal Group now for legal assistance from a qualified Brandon (Hillsborough County) divorce attorney. Our lawyers have the experience and commitment to our clients that you require, and they know how to represent you during a divorce. Contact our Family Law office for an initial consultation by phoning our team or using the Contact and Forms Drop Down on our website.