When you are considering a divorce, the first question to ask yourself is where to file the divorce action.
Jurisdiction refers to the official power to make legal decisions and judgments. When filing for a dissolution, most Courts will determine their jurisdiction based on the spouses’ or their minor children’s, if they are children involved, place of residence.
In Florida, in order to get a dissolution of marriage, one of the spouses must justify at least six months of residence in the state at the time of filing the petition.
If you and your spouse live outside of the United States, you can file for a divorce petition in your host country according to the local rules of procedure.
In in the United States, international divorce cases are often complex and difficult. Boyer Law Firm Attorney has a long experience in international divorce cases, and can point you towards the right jurisdiction to file your divorce and assist you in the whole procedure if it was to be filed in Florida.
Grounds for Divorce in Florida
Florida is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that a petitioning spouse does not have to blame the other spouse for the divorce. However, there are a few requirements to obtain get a dissolution of marriage.
The first and most important requirement is for the spouses to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In less technical terms, this means that you and your spouse simply do not get along and that your marriage is no longer working. In Florida, regardless of the reason for divorce, either spouse can petition for dissolution of marriage without consent of the other spouse.
In Florida you can either have:
- A simplified/uncontested divorce: both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce, on child custody, the distribution of assets, alimony, child support. This procedure is called simplified because
- there is just one hearing and
- in most counties, none of the spouses need to attend it. The attorneys can represent their respective clients at the hearing
- everything is already decided by the spouses who draft and sign a marital settlement agreement drafted by their attorneys.
- It’s the easiest and fastest way to get divorced
- A contested/regular divorce: spouses cannot agree on the idea of divorcing or on its consequences (child custody, child support, alimony, distribution of assets). This procedure implies:
- Several hearings
- The obligation for the spouses to attend at least the first hearing
- A potential long and expensive procedure
Default distribution of assets in a Florida divorce:
Florida is an “Equitable Distribution” State which means that by default, all marital property acquired during the shall be equally distributed between the spouses.
However, the Judge may decide on an unequal distribution of some assets if the spouse requesting such unequal distribution can justify that the difference between spouses after the divorce would be such that an unequal distribution would be more equitable than an equal one.
Thus, the importance of being represented by an experienced Attorney in Family law matters to best represents your interests in this type of divorce.