Many different religions have different requirements for ending a marriage, such as a declaration of nullity in Catholicism or the practice of talaq in Islam. However, none of these practices ends a legally valid marriage in the eyes of the law in the state of Florida. Instead, Florida has many requirements and steps that you and your spouse must follow in order to legally dissolve a marriage. Without taking these steps, you will still be considered to be married by the Florida government. This can affect many different aspects of your life including taxes, your ability to remarry, property acquisition, and more. To avoid any unforeseen complications in your life, it is always imperative that you properly seek and obtain a legal divorce from the court if you want to end your marriage in Florida.
The following are some of the requirements set out by Florida law for a valid and legal divorce in our state.
A valid marriage — In order to seek a divorce, you must first have a valid marriage. While this may seem like common sense, many marriages may not be valid due to age, consanguinity, bigamy, and other reasons.
Residency in Florida — In order for a Florida court to hear your divorce case, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for the past six months before the filing.
Proper court filing — You must file a petition with the court requesting the divorce that includes all the necessary information. There are many different options for divorce filings including for simplified dissolution or uncontested divorces.
Grounds for divorce — In Florida, you must state one of two available grounds for divorce, which are as follows:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken; and
- One of the spouses has been deemed mentally incapacitated for at least three years prior to the filing.
Determinations on relevant issues — Many issues must be decided in a divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, parenting plans, spousal support, and more. The parties can agree on these issues on their own, engage in mediation to help decide issues, or the court will decide if the parties cannot agree.
Judgment issuance — The court will issue a decree granting the divorce and setting out orders for all of the above issues.
Can You Legally Separate Without a Divorce?
If you are not yet ready to go through the above steps to obtain a divorce but you and your spouse agree to live separately, there are certain options available to help regulate the situation. For instance, you may be able to seek a court judgment on the following issues:
- Awarding you spousal support;
- Awarding you child support;
- Setting out an appropriate child custody and visitation arrangement.
However, while these issues may be addressed, you should realize that Florida law does not allow for full, legal separation, so you will still be legally married for all other intents and purposes.
If you believe you may want to end your marriage in Florida, you should not hesitate to call experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney Alan R. Burton for help at 954-229-1660 today.