In the past, a court would only grant a divorce if one spouse showed “grounds” for the divorce. Grounds meant that the other spouse did something wrong and was at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Traditionally, grounds may have included emotional or physical abuse, adultery, abandonment or desertion, mental illness, imprisonment, and more. In order for a judge to allow the divorce, the spouse seeking divorce would have to allege certain grounds and then would have to adequately prove those grounds in court.
As you can imagine, proving serious wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse could be difficult and expensive. For example, if you believed your spouse had been unfaithful, you would have to be able to prove it to a certain degree. This proof could come in the form of witness testimony or physical evidence, both of which could be difficult to obtain. People often had to hire private investigators to spy on their spouses to gain the evidence they need. If witnesses were used, the matter could easily become an acrimonious he-said, she-said situation in which each spouse tried to discredit the other on by airing all of their dirty laundry. This only caused tension to rise between the spouses even more, and that tension would often make it even more challenging to successfully negotiate a divorce agreement.
Fortunately, fault-based divorces are a thing of the past in Florida. Now, the Florida Dissolution of Marriage law only requires that one spouse claim one of the following:
· The marriage is irretrievably broken; or
· One of the spouses is mentally incapacitated and has been so for at least three years.
Using the general “irretrievably broken” instead of specific wrongdoing as grounds has several benefits for divorcing couples in Florida. First, it limits the time and money necessary to complete a divorce within the state. Additionally, it allows a victim of domestic abuse to get out of their marriage more easily than if they had to prove fault. In many situations, no-fault divorces also tend to make the entire divorce process less acrimonious, as the spouses are not necessarily pointing blame at the other.
However, tensions can soar even in no-fault divorces. Though grounds are no longer necessary, the parties can still try to hide assets, make false accusations to try to get full custody of children, and more.
Contact a Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale Divorce Attorney for Help
Though no-fault divorces may often be less complicated than the previous fault divorce system, that does not mean that a Florida divorce will necessarily be simple. In fact, many complex issues may arise, especially if you have children or a substantial amount of property. You should always have an experienced Florida divorce lawyer handling your case so you do not risk an unfavorable result in your divorce settlement and to make sure you comply with all court rules and procedures. Do not hesitate to contact Alan R. Burton, Attorney at Law today for assistance with all of your family law needs.