Your Guide to the Grounds for Divorce in Florida
Filing for divorce is one of, if not the most difficult thing, a couple can go through. Regardless of if it’s amicable or not, the process alone can cause massive emotional stress, not only for the couple but also their children, if any are involved.
Some states in the country, however, make it a bit easier by adopting a no-fault divorce policy. Florida, for example, is recognized as a no-fault state, which essentially means that the couple does not have to provide an explanation or rationale for why they are seeking to end their marriage.
There are still many different nuances to this process, though, which is why it would still be highly advisable to retain the services of a Sarasota divorce lawyer near you such as Matthew Z. Martell.
What is a No-Fault Divorce?
A no-fault divorce refers to the process in which the only thing required to file for a dissolution of marriage is a statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
In layman’s terms, it simply means that the couple can no longer live together and function as a unit. It doesn’t matter whether or not one party engaged in bad behavior such as cheating on their spouse, because the court would not even need to ask for that information.
There are two types of uncontested divorces. You should think carefully about which type you would like to move forward with, because while they may be “easy” applications, they have different legal requirements that must be met. It’s ideal that you consult with a divorce lawyer in you in Sarasota, Bradenton, or Venice like Matthew Z. Martell in order to know which type of uncontested divorce suits your context best.
The first type of uncontested divorce is by way of simplified dissolution of marriage. It’s much faster and its easy, but also has several prerequisites to it. Specifically, the couple must specifically agree to this type of divorce; there must be a written agreement between the spouses on the division of their assets, including marital assets and debts; and neither one of spouses can seek alimony– among other things.
The other type of uncontested divorce is the regular Dissolution of Marriage. This may take more legal steps than the Simple Dissolution of Marriage, but as long as the couple is in agreement, it’s still an ideal method for those looking to get divorced faster, easier, cheaper and with less stress.
How Does No-Fault Divorce Work?
Despite the no-fault divorce policy in Florida, there are still certain requirements that must first be fulfilled for it to work. First of all, the requirement of residency must be satisfied. This means that at least either one of the spouses must have lived in the State of Florida for at least six months prior to filing the divorce.
The next requirement that must be met is the grounds or legal reason for filing the divorce. As stated above, because Florida is a no-fault divorce state, the grounds need not be the wrongdoing of the other party. It can simply be “irreconcilable differences” which is an acknowledgment of a broken marriage, and that despite all efforts to repair, the marital relationship simply is no longer salvageable. There won’t be any need for any further justification or explanation. The grounds of irreconcilable divorces will suffice.
The only other grounds for divorce in Florida is mental incapacity. In order to use this ground, the law requires that an official legal declaration must have first been made that your spouse lacks mental capacity legally for at least three years prior to filing of the divorce. You also have to stay with your spouse until they legally gain mental capacity again until you are allowed to fully divorce them. For these reasons, this grounds is basically never chosen as the official grounds for divorce in Florida.
It is also required by the Court for each spouse to undergo a required 3-hour parenting course in cases where there are minor children involved. A family attorney near you in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, FL like Attorney Matthew Z. Martell can answer more specific questions about how child custody, child visitation, and other related arrangements can be settled during the divorce proceedings.
Once these requirements are met, then divorce proceedings can move forward towards conclusion.
How Can a Divorce Lawyer Help?
If it truly is as simple as it sounds, is it still necessary to hire a divorce lawyer in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice, Florida? The answer is “Yes”. Divorce attorneys such as Matthew Z. Martell can help walk you through the process, from filling out and filing the divorce petition and other required paperwork, to serving the divorce papers on your spouse, to drafting up your Marital Settlement Agreement, etc. Family law attorneys in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, Florida like Matthew Z. Martell are also there to help work out a Parenting Plan which is a required agreement for issues pertaining to the minor children, including shared parental responsibility (i.e.- child custody), timesharing (i.e.- child visitation), and child support. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. today at (941) 556-7020 for help with your uncontested divorce.