Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This simply means that the parties do not have to give specific or detailed reasons as to why they are seeking a divorce. Florida law simply states that the marriage must be irretrievably broken. The parties can agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken or one party can maintain that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. In the latter case, the Court may order marriage counseling for a period of up to three months. A spouse may also file for divorce by showing that the other spouse was mentally incapacitated for a period of at least three years before the petition for divorce was filed. In that case, the burden of proof will fall on the spouse making the incapacitation assertion that will generally have to be proven will reliable and substantial evidence.
A party may bring a divorce case by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage in the local circuit clerk of court with proper jurisdiction. Once the document is filed, a summons will attach and be served on the other party. The other spouse will then have twenty (20) days to answer the petition of will face the possibility of a default action them. Usually legal questions legally called “interrogatories” are served on either side. Similarly, request for documents and things are served on either side in the form of a request for production. These two items comprise part of the normal discovery process available for divorce actions and most civil actions in the State of Florida. An experienced divorce attorney in Jacksonville can help you with your case.
Many times a divorcing spouse will come to our firm and ask if they have to get divorced in a specific county in Florida or perhaps even another state altogether. This will depend on the facts of the case. In Florida, residency must be established by one spouse before a petition can be filed. The residency parameters require that one party must have lived in a specific county for at least six (6) months prior to filing a divorce petition in that county. For example, let’s say you and your spouse were married in Duval County, Florida. Your spouse moved to Dade County one year ago, however you remained and continuously lived in Duval County for the prior one year. In this scenario, you would be eligible to petition the local court in Duval County for a divorce if you so desired. The same residency requirements would still apply if the spouse in the above hypothetical had moved out of state. As long as the filing party lived in the local jurisdiction, or county, for six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition he or she may take advantage of the local Courts by filing in the county where they live or have lived for the proceeding six months.
Many times people call our firm asking if they can file for divorce without an attorney. While the law does allow for one to file on their own, it is highly recommend that anyone consult with skilled legal counsel before going it alone. The law in this area can be and is quite complex and you stand to lose a lot if your spouse has hired a lawyer and you did not. A better strategy would be to contact an experienced advocate who will defend and fight for your rights.
At our law firm we understand that divorce is an emotionally draining process. Here, at our firm, you will be greeted by a friendly staff that is here to help you in your time of need. You will meet personally with an attorney and be treated with the respect and compassion you should expect. Your questions will be answered and you can feel confident you are meeting with an experienced and skilled legal advocate who will fight hard for you and who will have your best interests at heart. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain as the consultation is 100% free.