Overview of Divorce in Florida

The following is an overview of divorce in Florida. Dissolution of marriage in Florida may be filed solely on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken or the spouse is mentally incapacitated, with property divided according to the "equitable distribution" principle, and spouse and child support determined by percentage of income model.

Residency and Filing Requirements

One of the parties must reside in Florida for six months before filing the petition in order to obtain dissolution of marriage in Florida.

Grounds for Filing

Grounds for filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Florida must declare one or more of the following as grounds for filing: the marriage is irretrievably broken or one of the parties is mentally incapacitated. Incapacitation must have been a factor for at least three years preceding filing.

Property Distribution

Florida is an "equitable distribution" state. Therefore, marital property will be divided equitably although not necessarily evenly. If the parties cannot arrive at a settlement regarding property and debt, the court will declare a property award, considering the contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children, and homemaking, the economic circumstances of the parties, duration of the marriage, any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party, the contribution of one spouse to the career or education of the other, desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any interference by the other, the contribution of each to income and assets, desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage when it is in the best interest of the child and it is financially feasible

Spousal Support

Not all cases involve spousal support, and temporary or permanent support is determined by either agreement between the parties or at the court's discretion on a case-by-case basis. The court may grant rehabilitative or permanent alimony to either party, either in periodic payments or a lump sum, and may consider adultery and the circumstances thereof when awarding alimony.

The court will consider the standard of living established during the marriage, duration of marriage, age and the physical and emotional condition of both parties, financial resources of each party, the non-marital and the marital assets and liabilities of both parties, the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to find appropriate employment, the contribution of each party to the marriage, including homemaking, child care, education, and career building of the other party, and other factors.

Child Custody and Support

If the parents cannot agree on issues involving the children, the court will establish custody at its discretion, granting either shared or sole custody as well as responsibilities.

Florida determines child support proportionally according to each parent �s income.

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