What are the Grounds for Divorce in Florida?
If you’re looking to file for a divorce in Florida, it’s important to understand the residency requirements and the legal grounds under which you can proceed with a divorce, which is actually known as a dissolution of marriage here. Prior to filing for a dissolution of marriage in Florida, either spouse must be a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to filing.
Some people mistakenly assume that there must be some type of event or “fault” on one side before you can legally pursue a divorce. However, Florida is a no-fault state, and no longer requires proof of wrongdoing to grant a divorce thanks to the Florida Dissolution of Marriage Statute. This is aimed at helping couples reach an amicable settlement and reduce the risk of fallout to spouses and children.
No Fault Divorce in Florida
All you need in Florida for a divorce is to cite that there are irrevocable differences and a complete breakdown of the marriage. A marriage that is irretrievably broken means there are disputes or differences between the spouses that cannot be resolved or settled.
Although Florida doesn’t require fault-based grounds to proceed with a divorce, there are situations where these factors may become relevant. In some cases, the court will introduce them in a contested divorce if they can impact the outcome. Examples of factors that may be introduced can include:
- Mental illness
- Alcoholism or substance abuse
- Abandonment or desertion
- Domestic violence or abuse
Even if you can prove one of the aforementioned grounds, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to impact your divorce when it comes to child custody, property division, child support, or alimony, unless there is a situation where domestic violence puts your child in harm’s way.
When Mental Illness Plays a Part in a Florida Divorce
In some situations, there may be a second option for filing for divorce rather than just it being irretrievably broken. Mental illness is a second reason that you can use as grounds to file for a divorce. You can claim your spouse is now mentally incapacitated but be warned that this requires strict rules to be met. If you are the spouse alleging your ex is mentally incapacitated, you must be prepared to show:
- The mentally incapacitated spouse was declared so by the court and the hearing for this matter was a minimum of three years before the petition for divorce was filed; and
- The spouse who is pursuing the divorce on the grounds of mental incapacity must provide notice of the pending divorce filing to the other side’s nearest blood relative or guardian.
If there is no appointed guardian. The courts may appoint one to ensure the spouse’s best interests are protected. The courts also have the power to order spousal support to the mentally incapacitated spouse. However, you are still required to meet the other requirements to file for divorce in Florida, like residency.
Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
If you have questions about filing for divorce, or need representation in your upcoming one, you need a Boca Raton divorce attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today at 561-391-9943 to schedule an initial consultation.