In the state of Florida, divorce is referred to as dissolution of marriage. The process entails complicated issues such as child support, alimony, and asset division. You are legally permitted to file for a divorce without an attorney, but that can come with a lifetime of impact on the lives of your children and your finances.
Filing For Divorce in Florida
According to Florida statute 61.052, fault is no longer necessary to justify a divorce. This means that grounds of “fault”, such as adultery, are no longer required to obtain a divorce. Now it is only necessary to prove an irrevocably broken marriage legitimately exists, and one party has been a Florida resident for six months before filing the petition for divorce.
During the regular divorce or dissolution process, one spouse must file a petition for dissolution of the marriage to the circuit court in the county where the couple last lived together. This can be filed with or without a divorce lawyer; however, it is strongly recommended a family law attorney be hired if there are children, debts, or assets involved.
Divorce vs Annulment in Florida
An annulment follows the same procedure as divorce or other actions decided by Family law; however, the two are completely different things. An annulment states that a marriage was invalid from the time of its inception, and is therefore void. If a marriage is determined void, it has no rights or obligations. It essentially never happened.
There are no Florida statutes regarding annulment. Laws regarding annulment are governed by common law decisions derived from court proceedings. This makes it difficult to establish annulments, and drives many parties to seek divorce even when annulment is applicable to their marriage.
Grounds for annulment include:
- Bigomy (or an undissolved previous marriage)
- Mental incompetancy
- Physical incapacity.
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Florida
In Florida, two types of divorce exist: contested or uncontested. A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on major issues in their settlement, whereas an uncontested divorce occurs when they can. Issues that very often cause a contested divorce include disagreements on alimony, division of property, child support, or time sharing plans. When this happens, settlements must be determined by a judge. Contested divorces can be extremely costly and be dragged out for a long time.
Uncontested divorces are straightforward and usually fast. Once the parties draft an agreeable compromise, they will sign a Marital Settlement Agreement and present it to the court for ratification.
Contact our Jacksonville / Orange Park area Divorce Law Firm to Learn more about your Legal Options
The dissolution of marriage process can be a tough, long term, uphill battle. Divorce is something you are legally entitled to take on by yourself, but you should not unless you are willing to risk the custody of your children, a say in the child support you will receive or pay, and the alimony you will receive or pay. An skilled and experienced attorney can help keep your life running business as usual while also getting you a favorable divorce settlement.
Call us today for a free consultation.