Florida Residents: 10 Must Knows About Divorce

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Not everything is cut and dry, and unfortunately divorce just happens to be one of those things that can be a lot more complex. There is a lot of important information that you will need to know about the divorce process, but below is list of the top 10 most important aspects of divorce that you need to be aware are possible in the state of Florida.

(1) Florida is a no-fault state:

This can be quite beneficial for you do not need to cite any reason behind your divorce with the exception of the fact that your marriage is considered to be broken without hope of repair. If you and your spouse are fortunate enough to be child-free at the point of the divorce and neither party chooses to contest the divorce than the entire divorce can be expedited.

(2) There are residency requirements in Florida

You can only seek a divorce in Florida if you or your spouse is considered to be a resident of Florida or you and your spouse have been stationed in Florida for at least the following 6 months. You must be able to provide a valid Florida address in order to prove this residency.

(3) How to petition for a divorce.  

You are allowed to petition the courts for a divorce in the county in which you or your spouse resides. If this county is different than the last county that you resided in during your marriage than it is possible that the court will choose to transfer it to the country in which you last resided together. The Clerk will then need to issue a summons in which it will need to be served with the petition on your spouse. Your spouse will then be allotted twenty (20) days to respond.  You will have to attend mediation if both of you agree about property division, spousal support and child custody, the divorce may proceed without going to court. Otherwise, a final hearing date will be set. If you have children, Florida requires each of you to attend a seminar discussing issues related to children and divorce.

(4) You do not have to be able to locate your spouse

Florida will grant a divorce to an individual if they are not able to locate their spouse as long as the courts feel that the present party has made every effort to try and locate the missing spouse. This can include a thorough search of available departments such as the DMV, speaking with friends and relatives, and even print ads requesting assistance in locating the individual. If your spouse is still considered to be missing than the courts can choose to grant a divorce to the present party.

(5) Division of Property

Both parties are permitted to keep any property that is considered to be non-marital property. This is property that was brought into the marriage by one or the other. Both parties will have to agree to the division of marital property, or it will be equally distributed by how the courts see fit. 

(6) Alimony          

Alimony can be awarded in a Florida court, but it will be dependant upon what the courts see as being suitable for the situation. The court will base their decision on the amount of time that the marriage lasted, the amount of money each party makes, the lifestyle that the couple is accustomed too, and the health of both individuals.

(7) Child Support

There are two options when it comes to Child Support in the state of Florida. The first is for the parents to work out a visitation or shared custody schedule including the division of expenses. The 2nd option is to let the courts decide for you should you not be able to come to an agreement. The courts will most likely come to a shared custody agreement with the division of expenses worked out with how the court feels is the most fitting.

(8) Try mediation

Mediation is a great alternative to going through litigation and getting the courts involved. Mediation is the use of a 3rd party in order to help provide a much more cost effective and friendlier alternative to deciding the division of assets and support. Once a divorce goes to the courts the decision is final and the two parties have little control over the end result. Mediation provides you with a great alternative to working out the issues and avoiding dragging your case through the court system.

(9) A simple divorce

The state of Florida does offer a simplified divorce process, if you and your spouse agree on the terms of the dissolution of the marriage. This can only be acquired by those individuals that do not have any minor children that are shared between the two adults. It is a divorce that can be awarded and completed in less than a month, but this can only be acquired if both parties are in full agreement of the dissolution of the marriage.

(10) It is difficult to pinpoint a timeframe

A divorce can take anywhere from around a month up to years depending on the level of litigation that your case requires. A divorce where both parties are in complete agreement on the terms can be acquired within a month in the state of Florida, but a case that requires full litigation can take years to acquire. The more that you and your spouse fight over the terms of your divorce the longer it will take. 
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