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Florida Divorce Laws

John is a wonderful father, a great son, a trustworthy friend, and a successful businessman, but he is a shitty husband. Sometimes, divorce is a necessary evil. Walking alone can be difficult, but it’s less difficult than living with a difficult person. Unfortunately, this is the paradox of life. Nothing to boost about, but four out of the top ten cities in the United States with highest divorce rates come from the state of Florida. In complete contrast to the unhealthy divorce stats, Florida stands high on the list of dream wedding destinations, often preferred by the A-listers as well. As it seems, some wedding destinations come with unwanted baggage. In the case of Florida, it won’t be an understatement to claim that the unwanted baggage is divorce.

Florida Divorce Laws: Does it make matter worse?

To a certain extent, Florida divorce law does not help the cause of marriage retention. Florida has a “no-fault” divorce policy. Simply put, a spouse does not have to present factual stories of abuse, adultery or anything else to be separated. Basically, you don’t even need to complain for the sake of filing a divorce petition in Florida. A mere reason of not wanting to be together anymore is enough gunpowder needed to fire the divorce bullet. So, can you file a divorce in Florida if you don’t like your partner’s hair color? For the most part, the answer is pretty much yes.

Divorce Filing Proceedings in Florida

The first step for filing a divorce petition in Florida is to satisfy the Florida divorce forms available at a Florida courthouse. As such, various forms are available depending upon the divorce situation. One will have to match up their situation to the appropriate form and accordingly fill it up. One of the requirements to file a divorce petition in Florida is that at least one of the couple should be a resident of Florida for a minimum period of six months prior to the date of filing the divorce petition. Once a divorce petition is filed, a person has twenty days to respond to the petition. If the divorce papers are ignored, a default can be entered against a person. As the name implies, it makes a person lose by default. The court will rule almost everything against the person. Ignoring divorce papers would be like allowing your opponent hit many birds with one stone.

Those who respond and have children at the time of divorce will have to go through a four-hour parenting session which can be attended in person or online, depending on the jurisdiction where the case is filed. The parenting session is mandatory as per the laws to help parents understand the impact of divorce on their children. The financial documents are also required to be swapped so that the alimony and the child support proceedings can happen seamlessly without any roadblock. At some point, both will also have to go through a mediator for the sake of negotiation. Settling the matter out of the court can help folks bypass expensive legal fees and also a great deal of emotional turmoil. Once an agreement is reached, the court must approve it to finalize the divorce.


With regards to alimony, Florida is faced with constantly changing laws. The changes have a lot to do with the fact that most women are no longer stay-at-home moms. In many cases, they are the breadwinners. Florida depends on the equitable distribution system to determine who gets what. It layman’s terms, it means that all the things are equally distributed. Each and every dollar is required to be in front of the table. That being said, non-marital properties are excluded from the equitable distribution system. Any asset acquired from the date of marriage till the date of filing a divorce petition is subjected to equitable distribution. It pretty much includes anything acquired during the course of the marriage, assets as well as the liabilities. It doesn’t matter if the property or liability is held jointly or separately. As such, there are three different types of alimony settlements in Florida, rehabilitative, lump sum or permanent alimony. Alimony settlements can take prolonged years in the absence of proper agreement between the couples because there are a lot of factors considered by the court of law in deciding the type and amount of alimony to be awarded to the recipient.

Child Support

In Florida, courts prefer shared child custody. One person will receive physical custody of the child, while the other parent will be offered generous visiting time. The best interest of the child is taken into consideration while determining the physical custody of the child. The court considers as much as twenty different factors before arriving at a final decision. The number of children and the net income of the couple are the two most important factors taken into account while calculating the child support amount. Unemployment does not stand a ground for zero payment towards child support. The court may or often does impose a certain amount to be paid towards child support even if the person is unemployed. Just in case, the court of law determines that the unemployment or underemployment is voluntary, then one may be subjected to pay a higher percentage as well. As they say, “There is no escaping from the court of law.” That being said, Florida law does permit a reduction in child support, if a parent spends 73 nights per year with the child. All additional days above 73 will come with a discount.

Every family, every couple, every marriage, and just about every case is unique. Some divorce cases end without too much of drama, while there are others that last for endless years because seemingly everything appears to be an issue. Accurate financial discovery alone can take light years in the absence of proper financial disclosure by one or both the parties involved. Not being fair with the property disclosure often leads to disagreements and arguments among couples. As a result, they are left to the mercy of the judge for property distribution. A couple that is able to resolve their issue won’t have to bear the brunt of a hefty legal fee as compared to a couple that is intended on fighting till their dying breath, sometimes unnecessarily.