Filing For Dissolution
A divorce action begins when one spouse files a petition asking the court to dissolve a marriage. The petitioning spouse is not required to prove that the other spouse has caused any grounds for divorce, such as through infidelity or abandonment. Florida is a “no-fault” divorce jurisdiction, so the spouse who is filing for divorce generally need only assert that the marriage is “irreconcilably broken.”
In Florida, at least one party to the marriage must continuously reside in Florida for 6 months before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. (Note: Special rules apply in some instances involving military members.) Once residency of at least one spouse has been established, Florida has the authority to dissolve a petitioning spouse’s marriage, even when the other party is a non-resident. On the other hand, a Florida court may not exercise jurisdiction over property-related aspects of a divorce, such as the dividing of marital assets and liabilities or ordering spousal support, unless certain constitutional standards are satisfied.
Whether or not Florida has jurisdiction to resolve specific conflicts that could arise in a particular divorce proceeding is a basic, preliminary question that a Florida divorce attorney should be able to answer upon learning the facts of your case.
Contested or Uncontested?
A divorce is considered uncontested when both parties agree to the terms of the legal separation (e.g. division of personal and real property, amount and duration of alimony, etc.). The parties’ agreement must be reduced to a written contract, a Marital Settlement Agreement, which generally provides for the division of marital assets and liabilities, any payment of spousal support, and must establish the terms of custody and child support, if the parties have a dependent child in common.
Conversely, a divorce is contested whenever the parties to an action are not in agreement as to the terms of the separation. In many Florida counties, parties to a contested divorce are required to attend mediation, an informal meeting during which the parties and their respective attorneys, with the help of a neutral, third-party, will attempt to reach an agreement on the terms of separation. A successful mediation will result in a signed Marital Settlement Agreement, often avoiding the need for a final hearing.
What R&R Can Do For You
If you are considering filing for divorce, or if you know or have reason to believe that your spouse may file, it’s important to know your rights. A qualified divorce attorney can help you protect your personal, parental, and property rights. The attorneys at Risen & Ryan have represented thousands of divorce clients from across the Gulf Coast and beyond, including military clients stationed around the globe. Whether it’s a first consultation or a multi-day trial, our attorneys treat every client as if he or she were are ONLY client. Our support team works to keep each client informed at every critical stage of the process, while our attorneys develop and implement a legal strategy designed to achieve your best outcome.
Contact our office today at 850-864-1951 to schedule a consultation, or complete the form above, and a member of our team will contact you as soon as possible.
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