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Daniels Law P.A., Family Law Attorney Lee and Charlotte County and SW Florida

Serving Southwest Florida

(239) 214-6010

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What are the Divorce Laws in Florida?

In the state of Florida, divorce is called dissolution of marriage. A divorce can be granted if the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or if one spouse has been declared mentally incompetent for a period of at least three years.

In order to file for divorce in Florida, one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. The divorce petition must be filed in the county where either spouse resides.

If the spouses have minor children together, they must also file a parenting plan with the court which details how they will share custody and responsibility for their children. The court will take this parenting plan into consideration when making a decision about child custody and visitation.

The court will also consider other factors when making a decision about custody, including each parent’s relationship with the child, each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, and each parent’s ability to co-parent with the other parent.

Once the divorce petition is filed, both spouses will be required to attend a mandatory settlement conference. During this conference, an attempt will be made to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues in the case. If an agreement is reached, a written settlement agreement will be prepared and signed by both parties. If an agreement is not reached, the case will proceed to trial.

Overview of Florida’s Divorce Laws

Florida is a no-fault state, which means that you do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong in order to get a divorce. All you need to do is state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and you will be granted a divorce. Florida also has a residency requirement, which means that you must have lived in the state for at least six months before you can file for divorce.

Residency Requirements

In order to file for a divorce in Florida, at least one spouse must have been a Florida resident for at least six months before filing. The divorce petition must be filed in the circuit court in the county where either spouse currently resides. Once the petition is filed, the court will issue a summons, which will be served on the other spouse. The spouse who is served with the summons has twenty days to respond.

Grounds for Divorce

In order to file for a divorce in Florida, you must have grounds, or a reason, for the divorce. The grounds for divorce are different in every state, but Florida offers both no-fault and fault-based grounds.

No-fault grounds do not require either party to prove that the other party did anything wrong. Instead, you simply state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” or that you have “irreconcilable differences” with your spouse. Fault-based grounds require one party to prove that the other party did something wrong, such as commit adultery or abandon the family.

If you choose to file for a fault-based divorce, you will need to specify the ground on which you are basing your divorce when you file your petition. Florida also allows couples to file for a “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage,” which is a streamlined process that can be used if the couple meets certain eligibility requirements.

Filing for Divorce

In order to file for divorce in Florida, you must meet the state’s residency requirements. This means that you or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing for divorce. Once you have met the residency requirements, you can file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the circuit court in the county where either you or your spouse resides.

If you have minor children, the court will also require that you attend a Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course before your divorce can be finalized. This is a four-hour course that provides information on the effects of divorce on children and families and teaches skills for coping with the challenges of divorce.

Service of Process

Service of process is the formal delivery of legal documents to a party in a lawsuit. The documents must be delivered in a manner that ensures that the party receiving them has notice of the lawsuit and an opportunity to respond. The person or entity serving the papers is typically not involved in the lawsuit and is therefore neutral.

In Florida, service of process can be accomplished by delivering the documents to the other party in person, by leaving them at their usual place of abode, by sending them via certified mail, or by publishing them in a newspaper. The method of service must be approved by the court.

Finalizing the Divorce

The divorce is not final until the judge signs the final judgment or decree. Once the judge signs it, the clerk of the court will prepare a certified copy and send it to your spouse’s lawyer. Your spouse’s lawyer must then file it with the court where your divorce case is pending. Once your spouse’s lawyer files the certified copy, it becomes a legal document, and you are divorced.


After researching the divorce laws in Florida, it is evident that there are many factors to consider before filing for divorce. It is important to consult with an attorney to discuss your individual situation and to ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself during the divorce process.