In Florida, divorce is called “dissolution of marriage.” As such, the terms “divorce” and “dissolution of marriage” can be used interchangeably. The Divorce or Dissolution of marriage, authority, processes and procedures are found in Florida Rules of Civil Procedure (PDF), Florida Rules of Family Law (PDF), Florida Rules of Judicial Administration (PDF) and Florida Statutes and Laws. These rules prescribe specific processes, requirements and obligation of the divorcing couples, parents, attorneys, mediators and the courts.
Dissolutions are filed in the Circuit Court having jurisdiction in the respective county. A Circuit court maybe comprise of more than one county. The filing party should take care that the filing occurs in the proper court. RULE 1.060 gives the court the authority to transfer the filing to the proper County Court called “proper venue”. When any action is filed laying venue in the wrong county, the court may transfer the action.
One of the first forms when filing for divorce is the “complaint” or the “Petition” for Dissolution of Marriage. Forms for pertaining to dissolution of marriage are available through the Florida Supreme Court website. A link to the website is made available to you in the divorce resource section of the course. Forms include the petition, parenting/visitation plan, child support calculation, and division of marital assets. The petition lists all issues the court should consider, such as dividing assets and debts, child custody, child support and alimony.
Since the 1970s, states have permitted no-fault divorces, which may be either contested or uncontested. Florida is a “no fault” divorce state. The spouse seeking a divorce simply needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This rule relieves the court of the complicated duty of deciding who is at fault, and the parties to the marriage are spared having to talk about painful personal issues in court.
Uncontested issues– are all issues on which the parties are able to agree and which are part of a marital settlement agreement.
Contested issues are – any or all issues upon which the parties are unable to agree and which the judge at a hearing or trial must resolve. Contested divorce issues can included the division of the marital estate, alimony, child custody and child support.
Each state has different procedures and rules as to what are sound grounds for example, not only the applicability of “grounds” but also residency requirements, which vary from state to state. Grounds for Divorce: Is the reason for the divorce. A reason must be stated which in most cases is “irretrievable broken“.
Residency and Filing Requirements: In order to file for a dissolution of marriage in Florida, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. If the court discovers it does not have jurisdictional rights to hear the case, it will not be accepted or it will eventually be dismissed. To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition. The dissolution of marriage can be filed in the county in which either or both spouses reside. (Florida Statutes – Chapters: 61.021).
There is a list of documents that must be produced in almost every divorce case. Various forms can be obtained from the local court or download from the Florida Supreme Court Website. http://www.flcourts.org/resources-and-services/family-courts/family-law-self-help-information/family-law-forms.stml.
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