Florida Divorce Laws

Residency requirement for a divorce in Florida

In order to be able to apply for a divorce in Florida one of the spouses must apply to the Circuit Court for dissolution of marriage. In order to be able to do so one of the spouses must have resided in Florida for a period of at least 6 months before applying for divorce. The spouses can apply for dissolution of marriage in any county.

Grounds for applying for divorce

If a spouse wishes to apply for dissolution of marriage certain requirements must be met which are outlined below:

  1. There must be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  2. One of the spouses must have proof of mental incapacity. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.052

Division of property when divorcing in Florida

As with any state in the USA, the courts favor the spouses themselves reaching an agreement when it comes to dividing property. In the case of this not being possible the courts will split property equitably. This means they will make the split in what is deemed a fair way. They will consider the following:

  1. Property will be classed as being marital or not
  2. Any property classed as being marital will receive a monetary value
  3. This value is then distributed between the spouses based on the facts outlined below
  1. How each of the spouses has contributed to the marriage
  2. The economic circumstances of each of the spouses
  3. How long the marriage lasted
  4. Interruption of the career of the spouses
  5. The contribution by any spouse towards the others career
  6. If the marital home is needed as residence for children until they are a reasonable age
  7. Any other factors, which contribute towards being able to distribute property fairly. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.075 and 61.077

Child custody factors

If the courts are to decide child custody then they will favor in the best interests of the child. They will take into account the following when deciding on what is best for the child:

  • The father will have the same rights as the mother when it comes to determining custody so custody may be awarded to either of the spouses
  • Both spouses are encouraged to share equal responsibility for the child
  • The courts will encourage frequent contact for both spouses when it comes to the child. Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.13

Of course, the court does prefer that spouses work out custody issues between the spouses and court invention is only undertaken as a last resort if no amicable solution for child custody can be reached.

Child support factors when divorcing in Florida

The courts may ask that either of the spouses pay out child support based on different factors set out in Florida Statutes Annotated; Chapter 61.30

  • The medical, dental and health care costs of the child
  • Whether the parent deemed as the custodial one receives both child support and spousal support
  • The variations in a spouses income and outgoings
  • The age of the child
  • Whether or not the family has any special needs
  • The terms of any shared parenting agreement
  • The assets in total of the parent and the child
  • The impact on exemption from IRS dependency
  • Any reasons the court may believe will have an effect on equitability

Along with child support, the courts may ask that spouses pay equally towards any health and life insurance costs. Child support costs may be ordered by the courts to be paid through state depository. Florida Statutes Annotated; Chapters 61.13 and 61.30