Divorce Law in Florida

In Florida, as in most parts of the country divorce is common. According to Statista, in 2018, there were 3.6 divorces per 1000 Florida residents. If you are contemplating divorce I have created this post to give you an overview of important information regarding divorce law in Florida.

How to file for dissolution in Florida

Types of divorce

Divorce law in Florida provides for different types of divorce depending on your situation.

Simplified Divorce

You qualify for a simple divorce if all of the following are true:

  • You and your spouse agree that the marriage cannot be saved
  • You and your spouse have no minor or dependent child(ren) together, the wife does not have any minor or dependent children born during the marriage, and the wife is not now pregnant.
  • You and your spouse have worked out how the two of you will divide the things that you both own (your assets) and who will pay what part of the money you both owe (your liabilities), and you are both satisfied with this division
  • You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.
  • You are not seeking support (alimony) from your spouse, and vice versa.
  • You and your spouse are both willing to go into the clerk’s office to sign the petition (not necessarily together).
  • You and your spouse are both willing to go to the final hearing (at the same time).

Regular Divorce

If you don’t qualify for simplified divorce, then you must go through a regular divorce. This means that there are more requirements to file such as additional financial evidence and child support and custody plans if you have minor children.

Do I qualify?

Residency requirement

You must prove that you or your spouse has lived in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

Do I need a reason or cause to file for divorce?

Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning you don’t have to have have grounds or a reason to file for divorce. The issue of fault only applies in the division of assets and alimony.

Steps in a divorce or dissolution

Although every case is unique most divorces follow the following steps:

  1. Filing the divorce petition
  2. Serving the papers on your spouse.
  3. Provide up to date financial information to the court and your soon to be ex-spouse.
  4. Attempt to settle. Most legal cases, including divorce our settled before they get to court. This saves time and money, buts its not always possible.
  5. Trial, if necessary. If you fail to reach an agreement with your spouse on all issues then you will have to go to court where the judge will make the final decision.
  6. Post settlement or trial. Once you reach a settlement or have your day in court there are the matters of changing title to property, updating bank accounts and wills and many other matters.

Dividing what you own

Divorce law in Florida says that property should be divided equitably. Equitable means a fair division, not necessarily 50/50. For example, if you responsible for paying off the cars, it would be fair for you to have your choice if cars you get in the divorce.

Child support and custody

Most courts in Florida will require that you have a custody or “parenting plan” as well as child support plan. The courts believe that both parents should be involved in raising and supporting their children, absent abuse issues. Compared to a parenting plan, child support is based on a statue that looks at the parents income and the amount of time the child spends with the parent, often referred to as the number of “overnights” the child spends with the parent. An important tip is to make sure you get the best possible plan you can now, because courts make it difficult to change a parenting plan at as future date.

How to get alimony or spousal support.

Alimony or spousal support is support paid to the other spouse. Alimony is based on two important factors: need for alimony and the ability to pay. For example, if one spouse has been out of the work force for a long period of time and needs retraining, the court might grant temporary alimony to that spouse. The court will also look at the ability to pay. For example, a spouse close to retirement might have a difficult time paying permanent alimony. For more on alimony see my post on this subject.

Florida Divorce and Inheritance Issues

These are other issues that might have to be addressed so its a good idea to update your estate plans after a divorce.


The above discussion discusses the basic steps in most divorces in Florida. However, every case is unique and has its own issues and challenges. Contact attorney Joel Lipinski for a free consultation to discuss your case. We customize our solutions to your particular needs.

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