Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but sadly not every Florida marriage is beaming with happiness. If your marriage is headed towards the end you may be wondering, what are the divorce laws in Florida? It helps to know that Florida actually calls divorce dissolution of marriage. Here are some other things you should know.
Florida divorce laws: Adultery
The law used to require some “fault” by one spouse for the other spouse to get a divorce. For example, a wife could get a divorce if her husband committed adultery. Today, some states still allow fault divorces, but it is rare for the fault divorce process to ever be used. Florida has eliminated most fault grounds so that divorce laws in Florida only allow divorce for “irretrievable breakdowns” or mental incapacity.
An irretrievable breakdown basically boils down to the couple wanting to split up and go their separate ways. A court is generally not going to second-guess the wishes of grown adults. Florida has even created a simplified dissolution process that allows couples without children to get divorced more quickly.
Florida divorce laws – Property division
Florida courts divide property equitably at divorce. Any property the couple owns is added together, with a few exceptions, including gifts, inheritances, and assets acquired prior to the marriage. State of Florida divorce laws says that the court “must begin with the presumption that the distribution should be equal unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution.”
When a court is considering altering the equal distribution, it must consider issues like the economic circumstances of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, and the contribution of each spouse to the marriage. Judges also have to factor in alimony and whether they split needs to occur immediately. One spouse might be allowed some time to pay a property settlement after selling some assets, for example. In reality, most couples have very limited assets and are usually just equally dividing their bank accounts and the value of cars and a home.
Florida divorce laws – Alimony
Courts in Florida are allowed to award alimony, which is sometimes called spousal support. It is basically one spouse paying the other spouse money to protect the standard of living of each spouse. People often wish there was a simple Florida divorce laws alimony calculator, but the law is not clear enough for that kind of a process.
The court can grant alimony that is temporary or permanent. Temporary alimony might just help a divorcee get back on her feet, while permanent might allow a divorced husband to rely on his ex-wife for the rest of his life.
Florida divorce laws consider issues like the couple’s standard of living, how long they were married, the health of each spouse, the financial resources and earning capacity of each spouse, and the contribution of each party to the marriage.
Florida divorce laws – With child
When a divorcing couple has children, Florida divorce laws require that those children be cared for. Parents will most often split custody in some way, and one parent will usually be ordered to pay support to the other. Support amounts are generally calculated using a worksheet that factors in the amount of time the child spends with each parent as well as each parent’s income.