Florida Divorce & Separation

With the Florida divorce rate at close to 40% in 2008, many are having to navigate the laws and rules governing the Florida divorce process, including the requirements for getting a divorce in Florida, whether or not mediation is a requirement as part of the divorce process, and what the law is on Florida annulments. Find the answers to your Florida divorce questions here.

Florida Legal Separation:

Florida has no formal procedure for legal separation, but the parties can enter into a written agreement for issues such as property division, custody, and support. For more information about the differences between divorce, separation and annulment, see Ending a Marriage or Taking a Break.
Florida is a no-fault state. Dissolution is granted based on the following grounds: 1) the marriage is irretrievably broken, or 2) the mental incapacity of one of the partners for at least three years before filing of the petition. For more information about what all this means, see The Divorce Process: From Separation to Final Judgment.

Residency/Where to File for Divorce:

One of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the state for 180 days before filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. The action can be commenced by filing in the circuit court where either party resides, but no judgment will be entered until at least 20 days have elapsed from the filing of the original petition (unless there is evidence that an injustice would result from this delay).

Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:

A procedure for uncontested divorce is available in Florida if there are no children of the marriage under the age of 18 and the parties can agree on all other issues arising from the marriage, such as property division and spousal support. An uncontested divorce has a shorter waiting period of 60 days. (see Residency/Where to File, above).

Florida Online Divorce Services:

LegalZoom.com – An online documentation service that helps users file for divorce.
CompleteCase.com– Offers an affordable way to file for uncontested divorces online.

Divorce Mediation in Florida:

Mediation is an option that many divorcing couples choose when working out the specific terms of their settlement agreement. It is less expensive than hiring two lawyers, and perhaps more importantly for the long run, it can keep the parties from becoming adversaries. In Florida, the court will make mediation available to parents who can't agree about custody or visitation issues, but no one will be required to meet with the mediators. If a consent agreement is reached with mediators, it will be reviewed by the court and entered and enforced, if the court approves its legality.

Florida Annulment:

An annulment is when a court declares your marriage legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. A marriage can be annulled due to many factors, including bigamy; venereal disease, sterility, or impotence; mental incompetence; fraud; or a marriage entered into as a joke.

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