Frequently Asked Questions
What is Divorce in Florida?

In Florida, a divorce is called a “dissolution of marriage.”

Florida is one of the many states that have abolished fault as a ground for dissolution of marriage. The only requirement to dissolve a marriage is for one of the parties to prove that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage. You must prove that a marriage exists, one party has been a Florida resident for six months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken. The reason for the irretrievable breakdown, however, may be considered under certain limited circumstances in the determination of alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and the development of the parenting plan.

The parties, facts and circumstances in each case are unique; therefore, outcomes can differ from case to case. Outcomes in a dissolution of marriage include, among other things, the division of assets and debts, awards of spousal support, awards of child support, and decisions on parental responsibility and/or time-sharing schedules. There is no “one-size-fits-all” or “standard” dissolution of marriage in Florida.

The dissolution of marriage process can be highly emotional and traumatic for couples as well as their children. Spouses often do not know their legal rights and obligations. Court clerks and judges can answer some basic questions but cannot give legal advice. Only a Florida family law attorney can provide legal advice. Statutory requirements and court rules must be strictly followed or you may lose certain rights permanently. The Florida Bar recommends you obtain the services of Florida family law attorney concerning legal questions, which include discussions regarding your rights and responsibilities in a dissolution of marriage. A knowledgeable attorney can analyze your unique situation and help you make decisions in your and your children’s best interests.
What types of Dissolution of Marriage Are there in Florida?
There are two ways of filing in a Florida court for a dissolution of marriage. The most common way is called a “Regular Dissolution of Marriage.” The second method is the “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.” The simplifed procedure is normally used when there are no kids and the parties can agree how to divide up their assets. Call us to determine what is the best type of divorce for your situation. 
What is a Parenting Plan and why do I need one? 

It is the public policy of Florida to ensure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or the marriage is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing.

The court gives both parties the same consideration in determining parental responsibility and time-sharing, regardless of the child’s age or gender.

In most cases, parental responsibility for a minor child will be shared by both parents so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child. Shared parenting requires both parents to confer so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.

You and your spouse may agree, or the court may order, that one parent have the ultimate responsibility over specific aspects of the child’s welfare, such as education, religion or medical and dental needs. The court will determine any or all of these matters if the parties cannot agree.

In very rare cases, the court can order sole parental responsibility to one parent. To do so, the court must determine that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.

In determining parental responsibility, the court will approve or devise its own Parenting Plan, which includes responsibility for the daily tasks of child-rearing, the time-sharing schedule, and decision-making authority relating to health care, school and related activities. The plan also will specify any technology that will be used for parent-child communication. The parents may agree on a Parenting Plan and submit it to the court for approval, or the court will determine these issues. The statute includes a list of factors for the court to consider in making these decisions.

The courts use the best-interests-of-the-child standard when considering parental issues.

Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting course before entering a final dissolution of marriage. Some courts require children of parents going through dissolution of marriage to attend a class specifically designed for them.