When filing for a Florida divorce, the petitioner (the spouse initiating the divorce proceedings) must indicate in the divorce petition the reason for wanting to end their marriage. However, in Florida, you cannot blame something like adultery, desertion, or cruelty for a divorce. This is because Florida is a no-fault divorce state. Each state in the U.S. allows some version of no-fault divorce. However, only 17 states are “true” no-fault divorce states because they do not allow divorcing couples to file for divorce on fault grounds. Florida is one of these states. In Florida, you can only choose one of the legal grounds for divorce recognized under state law.
What are the Legally Recognized Grounds for Divorce in Florida?
According to Florida Statute 61.052, there are only two legally acceptable grounds for divorce in Florida. They are;
- Marriage is irretrievably broken
- Mental incompetence
Marriage is Irretrievably Broken
Most people in Florida file their divorce cases on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This is because it is usually easier to prove that a marriage is irretrievably broken. When a marriage is irretrievably broken, it means there are irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse, and the marriage cannot be saved. It means that you and your spouse have tried to work things out, but you were unable to make the marriage work. When a marriage is irretrievably broken, it means that the issues between you and your spouse will continue for as long as the two of you remain married.
According to Florida law, the court can grant a divorce if one of the parties is mentally incapacitated. This second legal ground for divorce is more challenging to establish. The law states that, for a divorce to be granted on the grounds that one of the parties is mentally incapacitated, the following requirements must be met;
- The spouse alleged to be incapacitated should have been classified as incapacitated at least three years before the filing of the divorce petition.
- The petitioner sent the notice of proceedings to their mentally incapacitated spouse’s nearest blood relative or guardian
While mental incapacitation is rarely used as a grounds for divorce, it is available for use if the circumstances justify the use.
While it is advisable that you retain the services of a divorce attorney regardless of the grounds for your divorce, it is especially important that you retain an attorney if you are considering filing your divorce on the grounds of mental incompetence.
In Florida, in addition to alleging one of the grounds for divorce discussed above, you must also indicate in your divorce petition that either you or your spouse meets the residency requirement for divorce. According to Florida Statute 61.021, for a couple to get divorced in Florida, one of the spouses must have been a Florida resident for at least six months before the filing of the divorce petition.
Residency constitutes being physically present in Florida. Vacationing in Florida does not constitute residency. It also needs to be shown that you or your spouse intended to become a permanent resident of Florida. Things that can help prove residency include a Florida ID card, a Florida driver’s license, a Florida voter’s registration card, and testimony or an affidavit from a third party.
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, contact the qualified divorce attorneys at Tampa Bay Legal Center, P.A., at (813) 341-3333 to get legal guidance.