What Are Grounds For Divorce In Florida?
Despite the fact that nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, many couples are not versed in divorce law. There remains a notion that, if a marriage fails, one person must be legally at fault. Florida has joined the majority of states that now have a no-fault statute.
The two grounds for divorce
Florida courts are empowered to grant a petition for dissolution of marriage based on one of only two conditions:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken — the vast majority of divorces are now granted based on this idea.
- Mental incapacitation of one partner — this is rarely used as it requires a waiting period of three years and an extensive hearing before a petition can be granted.
The purpose of the intervention of the court is to provide a way for a divorcing couple to reach amicable terms of separation. Given that the court considers divorce to be a traumatic event, particularly if minor children are involved, the state does have some vested interest in helping a couple reconcile if that is at all possible. When a couple petitions for dissolution of marriage, a judge hears the case and usually either grants the petition or sends the couple to counseling.
Court can order counseling
Florida’s legal system operates on the assumption that divorce is not usually in the best interest of a child. If a couple with minor children petitions for divorce and the judge believes that they have not exhausted the possibility of keeping the marriage intact, the judge can order the couple to pursue counseling for a period of three months with a psychologist, marriage counselor, priest, rabbi or any other professional or lay person qualified to help the couple resolve their differences. If they are not able to reconcile after that period, the court grants the petition to divorce.
How does fault affect a divorce?
Though fault has no bearing on the decision of the court in granting or denying a divorce petition, fault might affect other terms of a divorce, such as time-sharing or alimony. If, for example, a partner use marital funds to support an adulterous relationship, that could affect the distribution of the couple’s assets.
Sound legal representation is essential to anyone considering divorce. The divorce attorneys at Weiner & Weiss, LLC are eager to speak to you about your legal needs. We serve the Broward and Palm Beach Counties, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.