The Basics of Filing for Divorce in Florida | Orlando-Kissimmee Divorce Lawyer

When a married couple or one spouse decides to file for divorce, the issues associated with the divorce are often emotionally charged. As a result, parties often do not have a clear understanding of the legal issues they face when filing for divorce or a dissolution of marriage.

Grounds for Filing For Divorce in Florida

Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means a spouse who wants to file for divorce does not need to prove fault to dissolve a marriage. However, a dissolution of marriage (or a divorce) can only be granted if one of the following 2 grounds exist pursuant to Florida Statutes 61.052(1):

1. the marriage is irretrievably broken, in other words, cannot be saved or salvaged; or

2. one of the parties has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years.

Residency Requirement to File for a Divorce in Florida

It is important to note that there is a residency requirement before a divorce can be filed in the state of Florida. One of the parties to the marriage, husband or wife, must reside in the state of Florida for at least 6 months before filing a divorce petition.

The divorce petition may be filed in the Florida circuit court where either party resides. For example, if the spouses are separated and one lives in Orlando, Kissimmee, Orange County, or Kissimmee, Osceola County, and the other lives in Tampa, Hillsborough County, the petition may be filed in the circuit courts in Orange/Osceola or Hillsborough County.

What Does Irretrievably Broken Mean?

In Florida, the basis for most divorces is that they are irretrievably broken. Florida courts find that a marriage is irretrievably broken when “whether for whatever reason or cause (no matter whose ‘fault’) the marriage relationship is for all intents and purposes ended, no longer viable, a hollow sham beyond hope of reconciliation or repair.” Ryan v. Ryan, 277 So. 2d 266, 271 (Fla.1973).

The parties may not just stipulate in the pleadings or forms filed with the court that there is a breakdown in the marriage. The judge must hear and weigh the facts and evidence that support the breakdown before granting the dissolution. Some factors which may support the argument that a marriage is irretrievably broken include:

  • the husband no longer loves the wife or vice versa;
  • there is mental or physical abuse;
  • there is no love or companionship between the spouses; or
  • the couple has been permanently separated for a number of years.

Learn more about divorce cases in Florida.

Other Issues in Filing for a Divorce in Orlando & Kissimmee, Florida

If there are minor children involved, the court may order counseling for a period of time or alternatives to dissolution, for example, mediation and/or the action may be continued to enable the parties to reconcile. Read more about child custody in Florida.