Marriage is intended to entail happiness with a partner for a lifetime. Florida is all about sunshine and fun. So marriages in Florida must be a great mix, right!? The reality, unfortunately, is not so. Most marriage vows do not last forever. Eventually, for many couples, nothing can prevent a breakdown in communication and bitterness from creeping into a relationship.
In recent years, Florida has had an exceptionally high rate of divorces. In fact, 13.2% of the Florida population is divorced. Florida ranks 4th among all other U.S. states in divorce. Yet, getting an uncontested divorce in Florida is not as easy as you think.
Family law is all about alimony, custody of minor children, etc. Yet, the divorce process varies from state to state and is particularly unique in Florida.
If you want to file for divorce in Florida, you must know these 10 items listed below.
1. Residency Requirements
To file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse should have lived in Florida for at least 6 months before filing.
2. No-Fault Divorce
Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means you do not have to prove a party is at fault for marriage troubles. All that is required is to allege there are irreconcilable differences. For example, a spouse does not have to provide evidence of adultery or domestic violence to obtain a divorce.
If both of you agree on the divorce terms, you can file for an uncontested divorce. This is a streamlined process for divorce that does not require litigation. However, there must be a complete agreement on all terms to qualify.
3. No Jury
All family law cases in Florida are bench trials. This means the case is tried by just a judge and not a jury. Even if the divorce case is not settled, only the judge will decide the outcome.
Every partner has an extended responsibility to support the other financially, even after the dissolution of the marriage. This financial obligation, usually towards an aggrieved or economically weaker spouse, is called alimony.
Florida law allows alimony only if the request is well-grounded. Florida courts award alimony only if one partner has a financial need for it and the other has the capacity to pay it.
Florida courts consider the tenure of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the age and health condition of each spouse.
5. Duration of Marriage
The length of a marriage has a significant impact on the alimony.
If you are married for less than 7 years, it’s classified as a short-term marriage.
A marriage that lasts between 7 and 17 years is a moderate-term one.
A marriage that lasts beyond 17 years is a long-term one.
Usually, the greater the length of the marriage, the longer alimony may be required to be paid after the divorce.
6. Division of Property
In Florida, the law believes in equitable distribution of marital property. The court believes that both partners have equal rights and responsibilities to the marital assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage.
The judge will consider all relevant factors when deciding how to divide marital property. For instance, the judge will consider the contributions of each spouse, their financial conditions, and the length of the marriage.
7. Child Custody
The court will issue a parenting plan setting forth the details for timesharing and custody rights. The judge will determine custody rights based on the child’s best interests. Usually, the judge will require shared parental responsibility (joint custody) unless the judge determines that it will be detrimental to the child’s interests.
8. Retirement Plans
One or both spouses might have invested money in 401K of the IRA or any other retirement plan. All such investments made during the marriage are considered marital assets in Florida. Usually, the judge will divide the accounts equally among the spouses. Investments made before the marriage are considered separate property unless they have been co-mingled.
Florida family court requires the spouses to submit an affidavit containing all their financial information, including their financial documents, insurance papers, tax filings, etc. This information is used to decide the alimony payments and the sharing of childcare expenses.
10. Tax Returns
In Florida, divorce plays a significant role in filing taxes. All alimony payments, child care deductions, and any property transfers during the divorce may affect income tax filing
Executing the divorce process in Florida involves a lot of stress and effort. Hire a divorce lawyer who is familiar with Florida divorce laws. If you are near Tampa, our Tampa family law attorney can help you get an amicable agreement for divorce, custody agreements, spousal support, and other areas. Florida Law Advisers, P.A., are the right family law attorneys to help you with a fair and just Florida divorce settlement.