How Long Do You Have to Be Separated to File a Divorce?

As divorce attorneys in Florida, we get many clients asking how long they have to be separated before they can bring forward a petition for divorce. People usually ask this question because, in the United States, many states require spouses to be separated for a certain period before they can petition the court to grant them a divorce. How long do you have to be separated to file a Florida divorce? Read on to find out. 

What is the Separation Period in Florida?

If you are considering filing a Florida divorce, you should know that there is not a law in Florida requiring you to be separated for a certain number of days, weeks, months, or years before filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. In other words, there is no set amount of time between you and your spouse breaking up and when you can file a divorce petition. 

Residency Requirement

Although there is no mandatory separation period for divorce in Florida, a residency requirement must be met before a divorce can be filed. According to Florida Statute 61.021, one party must have lived in the state for at least half a year before a divorce petition can be brought forward. This means if you want to initiate a Florida divorce, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Florida for at least the last six months. If neither you nor your spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months, you cannot file for divorce because the courts in Florida do not have jurisdiction over your case. 

Proving Residency

In Florida, one can prove residency by showing that they were physically present in Florida for the last half a year and intend to make Florida their primary residence. If a person just vacationed in Florida, they do not meet the residency requirement. Luckily, and unlike what most people think, a person can still meet the residency requirement even if they were traveling in and out of Florida during those six months.  

According to Florida Statute 61.052, the residency requirement can be corroborated by;

  • A Florida voter’s registration card
  • A Florida driver’s license
  • A valid Florida Identification Card
  • The testimony or affidavit of a third party

Apart from these, other types of evidence that can be used to prove that a person intends to make Florida their permanent residence include;

  • A signed lease in the state
  • Evidence of permanent work in the state
  • A document showing the purchase of a house in the state

If you do not meet the residency requirement, it does not mean you cannot file a Florida divorce. If your spouse meets the residency requirement, you can ask them to file the divorce. On the other hand, if you and your spouse don’t meet the residency requirement, you can choose to wait until you meet the requirement or file for divorce in the state where you or your spouse meet the requirement. 

Contact Tampa Bay Legal Center for Legal Help

If you are looking for a divorce attorney who can help you with your Florida divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., at (813) 341-3333


At Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., we care about our clients and about helping them resolve the legal issues they face in the most efficient and effective manner possible. Our law firm is led by attorney Carl J. Ohall who, for more than 25 years, has helped people throughout the Tampa area overcome legal challenges that affect their families, finances & health.

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611 S Kings Avenue
Brandon, FL 33511

(813) 341-3333

(813) 341-3333