If you have been struggling with your marriage for some time, you may be wondering about grounds for divorce in Florida. The dissolution of marriage is sometimes the only option when a couple finds that their relationship seems to be irreversibly broken. The problem may be associated with incompatibility, bad behavior, finances, infidelity or any number of other potential issues. Because Florida is a “no-fault” state, either party can ask the court for a divorce, no matter what the circumstances. There are actually only two grounds for divorce in Florida, though other issues can complicate the details associated with the dissolution of a marriage.
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship and mental incapacity of one of the parties are the two grounds for divorce in Florida, though the latter rarely occurs. More details about each follow.
If the divorce you are considering is not due to mental incapacitation of your spouse, it would be filed due to irretrievable breakdown, which is referred to as irreconcilable differences in some states. Basically, this means that the parties are not able to settle their disputes or differences and the matter is severe enough that the marriage has suffered a complete breakdown. An irretrievably broken marriage means that no reasonable effort would be able to resolve the problems to the extent that the parties could expect to experience a healthy marital relationship.
The problem leading to a divorce could be that you and your spouse no longer share similar life goals, one of you no longer wants to be married, or you simply don’t get along. These are all considered no-fault grounds for divorce. An irretrievable breakdown means there should be permanent effects of the differences so that they cannot be repaired.
When an irretrievable breakdown is the grounds for divorce in Florida, it does not signify that one party is a good spouse and the other is the bad spouse. No fault or blame needs to be proven to obtain a divorce. However, it must be proven that the marriage is essentially dead. In most cases, the court accepts a statement from one of the parties that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This doesn’t usually require either party to explain to the court what those differences might be.
As straightforward as getting a divorce in Florida may seem, it is usually in the best interests of parties in a divorce to seek legal counsel. There are many potential matters involved in any dissolution of a marriage that could complicate things. Even if you and your spouse agree that your differences cannot be reconciled, that doesn’t mean you won’t be at odds on matters such as how much alimony should be paid or received, division of property, custody of children, and many other matters. Having a knowledgeable attorney with experience in Family Law on your side can give you tremendous peace of mind during a difficult and often confusing time.
A spouse must have been mentally incapacitated for a minimum of three years before you can file for divorce with a lack of mental capacity as the grounds for divorce in Florida. A person is considered incapacitated if the physical or mental disability they are suffering from is serious enough that they are unable to make legal decisions independently. In such a mental state, a person cannot marry, divorce, or sign contracts.
When a person files for dissolution of marriage with mental incapacitation as the grounds for divorce in Florida, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of the person with mental incapacity. Both parties in the marriage have equal rights to the estate.
In some states, it’s possible to get a divorce from a spouse due to habitual intoxication, but Florida is not one of them. If your spouse has a drug or alcohol addiction, it may affect mental health, but it is not grounds for divorce in Florida. However, addiction can be relevant with regard to financial or child custody issues. For instance, the court may choose to award you a greater share of the marital estate if you were able to prove that marital money was wasted on alcohol or drugs.
Several factors determine whether or not Florida courts order one spouse to pay alimony, which is also called spousal support. Income and earning potential are the leading factors in determining alimony. When a spouse is prevented from working due to mental health problems, that spouse may be awarded alimony, though the length of the marriage may be another key factor in that decision.
Although infidelity is not grounds for divorce in Florida per se, various decisions of a court can be influenced by evidence of adultery in a marriage. If one party can prove that his or her spouse spent money extravagantly on their paramour, it could have an impact on the division of the estate. The unfaithful spouse may have given financial support to their paramour to the harm of his or her spouse and family. If so, a court may determine that the injured party will receive a larger share of the community property.
“Moral fitness of the parents” is one of the factors a court can consider when determining what is best for a child, and a court may decide that an adulterous spouse will be awarded less visiting time. In cases where there has been neglect of duties to his or her family and/or extreme dishonesty was involved, a court may eliminate or strictly limit the amount of parenting time given to the adulterous spouse.
Actions related to an adulterous affair could also have an impact on a court’s decision to have the adulterous spouse pay alimony to the other party. If, for example, one party saved a substantial amount of money in case it was needed for the future and the adulterous party raided that account and depleted the funds in connection with their paramour, a court may award the injured party alimony.
Roy & Associates, P.A., has a team of legal specialists with the expertise to guide you through the legal process of divorce. Whatever your grounds for divorce in Florida, our divorce lawyers offer experience and skill in providing a guiding hand. We always take time to listen and answer questions. One of our goals is to set your expectations for the journey ahead of you. Roy & Associates will fight to protect your interests. Call us today at 561-729-0095 for a consultation.