Florida is a no fault state, you do not have to prove one party is at fault for the divorce. For example, a spouse does not have to provide any evidence of adultery to obtain a divorce in Florida. Additionally, both spouses do not have to reside in Florida, you can file for divorce in Florida when spouse is out of state. Generally, there are only three requirements to be eligible to file for divorce in Florida. For more information about eligibility for divorce in Florida contact a divorce lawyer in Tampa. This article is general in nature and not intended to be legal advice for any set of circumstances.
Residency for Divorce in Florida When Spouse is Out of State
The first requirement to file for divorce in Florida is to prove that at least one spouse has been a Florida resident for at least the six-months immediately preceding the filing of the divorce petition. It is important to note, Florida divorce law does not prevent a case for divorce in Florida when spouse is out of state.
Establishing residency is typically a straightforward process that is easily accomplished. The resident spouse can prove their residence by either providing a valid Florida driver’s license, Florida ID, or Florida voter registration card. If neither of these documents are available, the spouse may be able to satisfy the residency requirement by providing an affidavit or testimony from a corroborating witness. Again, only one spouse will need to prove residency for divorce in Florida when spouse is out of state.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction for Divorce in Florida When Spouse is Out of State
Residing in Florida for 6 months gives the state jurisdiction (authority) over the subject matter of the case. See Florida Divorce Law 61.021. However, it does not necessarily give Florida jurisdiction over the people involved in the case. For instance, if a wife living in New York relocates to Florida seeking a divorce, Florida may not have jurisdiction over the husband even if the wife lived in Florida for the 6 months preceding the filing of the divorce petition. Without jurisdiction over the husband Florida cannot require him to pay alimony or distribute any marital assets in the divorce case.
Satisfying the residency requirement for divorce in Florida when one spouse is out of state only gives Florida the authority to grant the divorce, it does not give Florida authority over all the people involved in the case. Jurisdiction can be a confusing part of Florida’s divorce law, if you need assistance contact a Tampa divorce lawyer for counsel.
Personal Jurisdiction for Divorce in Florida When Spouse is Out of State
In order for Florida to have jurisdiction over a spouse living in another state one of the following must occur:
- The couple maintained a home in Florida as husband and wife (See Florida Statute 48.193); or
- The spouse living outside of Florida is personally served the divorce petition within Florida; or
- The spouse living outside of Florida waives his/ her right to contest jurisdiction. For instance, if the spouse responds to the divorce petition without raising the issue of jurisdiction in the initial response the spouse will subject himself/ herself to the jurisdiction of the court automatically and cannot challenge jurisdiction at a later time.
Additional Requirements to Divorce in Florida
The second requirement is for the spouse seeking the divorce to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In other words, the marriage cannot be saved by marriage counseling or any other means. Unlike other states, Florida has no requirement to prove fault. For example, a divorce attorney does not need to provide evidence that adultery to be irretrievably broken. Fault may be used to argue for alimony payments; however, it is not necessary to file a divorce petition. For instance, adultery may affect the property distribution and alimony award, but is irrelevant to be eligible for divorce in Florida.
Lastly, Florida divorce law requires the petitioning spouse to appear in court for the final divorce hearing. Both parties may not be required to attend the final hearing, only one spouse may be necessary.
Tampa Divorce Law Firm
The requirements for filing divorce are fairly straightforward; however, divorce proceedings can require a thorough knowledge of Florida divorce law. Often, the two parties will argue over property distribution, child custody, and alimony payments. You should have an experienced Tampa divorce attorney assisting you with these complex matters.
If you are contemplating filing for divorce and are concerned about keeping your fair share of the assets call us today to speak with a divorce lawyer at our firm. Our divorce lawyers have years of experience helping people with their divorce and child custody disputes. Every divorce is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual needs. Whether a couple mutually agrees to the terms of a divorce or are engaged in fierce litigation, we can help. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and offer a free initial consultation. Call us today at 800 990 7763 to speak with a Tampa divorce attorney or schedule a free consultation.