Divorce documents being signed

Grounds for Divorce in Florida

If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, it is likely that you have a great many questions. After all, when you are contemplating divorce, you will have your own set of complex reflections to confront. When you make that step to actually pursue the legal process of divorce, a whole new set of considerations can flood your thinking. How does this process work? Where do you file? How do you file? What information will you need to file? These are all excellent questions and all ones that a dedicated Florida divorce attorney can answer for you.

You may also have questions regarding grounds for divorce. You may have heard the phrase” grounds for divorce” in a TV show, movie, novel, or just from people you know. It is true that, historically, a person seeking divorce would need to be prepared to assert a qualifying ground for the divorce as well as provide supporting evidence for the ground they are asserting. Times, however, have changed across the United States. Here is what you need to know about grounds for divorce in Florida.

Grounds for Divorce in Florida

It used to be the case that Florida law listed a number of grounds for divorce. These grounds included:

  • Adultery
  • Cruelty
  • Violence
  • Desertion

All of this changed in 1971 when Florida became a “no fault” divorce state. This is in line with many other states that adopted no fault divorce laws. Under a no fault divorce law, you do not need to assert and prove a specific problem meriting a divorce. There will be no need to allege an affair and provide supporting evidence. While the terminology for pleading a no fault divorce can vary slightly between states, Florida’s no fault divorce ground is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” “Irretrievably broken” is somewhat vague, but it generally means that the spouse tried to make the marriage work, but just could not end up making it work.

Florida does have one other ground for divorce in addition to the no fault ground. The other ground is that one of the parties has been mentally incapacitated for a minimum of three years prior to the filing of the divorce petition. While this is a legal ground for divorce in Florida, it is almost never asserted even if it fits the circumstances surrounding the divorce. This is because the no fault ground is just so easy to establish it does not make sense to go through the other hoops of asserting the alternate ground.

While there is no need to assert cruelty, violence, or an affair in order to get divorced in Florida, this is not to say that these circumstances do not become relevant for other purposes. For instance, violence in a marriage creates a separate legal action for a domestic violence charge. Furthermore, an affair may become relevant during divorce proceedings if the spouse engaging in the affair spent marital assets to support and continue perpetrating the affair. This would come up again when discussing an equitable distribution of the marital assets.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

The team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou is here to support you during your divorce journey. We provide dedicated legal counsel when you need it most. Contact us today.

Andrew Nickolaou

Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. If you have questions about this article, contact Andrew today by clicking here.