Grounds for divorce must be established anytime a married couple decides to get a divorce in the state of Florida. A couple cannot just break up and go about their merry ways like they could back in high school. Because of this, Florida courts will ask for acceptable grounds for divorce and go from there, meaning that there are three major players involved in your divorce: you, your soon to be ex-spouse, and the State.
The two grounds for divorce in Florida are:
- that the marriage is irretrivably broken or,
- one of the parties has been declared mentally incapacited for a period of at least three years
How the dissolution of marriage will proceed also depends on whether minor children are involved or not. The Florida Statute Chapter 61.052, Dissolution of Marriage section states that, “If there is no minor child of the marriage and if the responding party does not, by answer to the petition for dissolution, deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of the marriage if the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken.”
This is, in a word, divorce by default. If you request a divorce from your spouse and your spouse fails to deny that the marriage cannot be saved and the court agrees, the court allows the divorce.
The Florida Statute Chapter 61.052, Dissolution of Marriage also states, “When there is a minor child of the marriage, or when the responding party denies by answer to the petition for dissolution that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may:
1. Order either or both parties to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi, or any other person deemed qualified by the court and acceptable to the party or parties ordered to seek consultation; or
2. Continue the proceedings for a reasonable length of time not to exceed 3 months, to enable the parties themselves to effect a reconciliation; or
3. Take such other action as may be in the best interest of the parties and the minor child of the marriage.”
This section is stating that if at any time the Florida court finds that your marriage may still be able to be saved, they can deny your petition for dissolution of marriage. At that point, the court will order you and your spouse to seek out a qualified individual to help with consultation of your marriage. Also, if you and your spouse have minor children together, marriage/family counseling and mediation may be ordered to see if the marriage can be saved, so long as it’s in the best interest of all parties involved.
Dissolution of marriage can be approved based upon mental incapacity of one of the parties. Dissolution cannot be allowed unless the party that is alleged to be incapacitated has been adjudged incapacitated according to The Florida Statute Chapter 744.331, Procedures to determine incapacity. The court will provide notice of the proceedings for dissolution to one of the nearest blood relatives or the guardian of the incapacitated person, who will be given the opportunity to defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party. Dissolution of marriage due to mental incapacity does not protect the initial petitioner from paying alimony to the incapacitated party.
If you are considering divorce in the state of Florida, please reach out to your local Florida divorce attorney for a consultation.