What Are the Legal Grounds for Obtaining a Divorce?

In order to be able to file for divorce in Florida, at least one of the two spouses must have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing with the court. There is one exception to this if you are a member of the armed forces who lives in Florida but are currently stationed outside of the state. Furthermore, the divorce must be filed in the county where either of the two spouses resides. While there is a residency requirement to obtaining a Florida divorce, there may be other requirements that divorcing couples should be aware of.  

Legal Grounds for a Florida Divorce

Some states still permit a party to a divorce to assert “grounds” for divorce. This can often include things such as adultery and abandonment, among other reasons. When grounds are asserted the party asserting the grounds must be prepared to support the allegations. In Florida, however, the only reason you have to provide in order to file for divorce is that your marriage is broken beyond repair, or “irretrievably broken.” This is because Florida is a no-fault divorce state. There is no need for a person to explain why the marriage has reached its end. All a party needs to assert is that the relationship and the marriage are damaged to the point that neither spouse wishes to keep living together as spouses and feel that this will not change at some future point in time.

Should there be minor children resulting from the marriage or should one spouse disagree that the marriage is irretrievably broken and wants to try to save the marriage, the court may take steps to provide the spouses with an opportunity to reconcile. For instance, the court may order the spouses to attend marriage counseling led by a psychologist or religious figure, such as a minister, priest, or rabbi prior to issuing the final divorce decree. Furthermore, the court may opt to pause the divorce proceedings if the spouses agree. This is called an abatement. The court may wish to do this if there is potential for reconciliation. In fact, the court has some discretion in taking other actions it may deem necessary in the best interest of the spouses or children.

There is, in fact, another reason beyond the marriage being irretrievably broken that may be asserted in order to obtain a Florida divorce. The law provides a spouse to assert that the other spouse is mentally incapacitated and use this as grounds for divorce. It should be noted, however, that there are strict requirements for this type of allegation. The spouse must have been mentally incapacitated for three years. The spouse asserting this in his or her request for divorce must prove that the mentally incapacitated spouse underwent a court hearing that resulted in him or her being classified as mentally incapacitated at least three years before the filing of the divorce petition and the petitioning spouse must also have sent notice of the divorce proceedings to the nearest blood relative or guardian of the other spouse.

Orlando Divorce Attorney

Are you considering seeking a divorce in Florida? Now is the time to consult with the knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Orlando Family Team about what you should expect along the way and how to protect your best interests going forward. Contact us today.

About the Author
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 and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.
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.