Florida Grounds for Divorce
Making the decision to end a marriage is often a painful, highly sensitive matter. There may have been long standing issues which family and friends may or may not be aware of, such as domestic abuse, alcohol abuse, adultery, or just an ongoing loss of affection and either emotional or physical separation. These types of issues certainly put an often unbearable strain on a marriage, and are often cited as contributory reasons when a couple decides to pursue filing for divorce.
In certain states, the presence of any of these factors – abuse, adultery, habitual drunkenness, separation and alienation of affection – would be grounds in and of themselves for divorce. Florida, however, is a no-fault divorce state, and the court will only grant a divorce for one of two reasons: either one of the spouses is proven to be mentally incapacitated, or the marriage itself is deemed to be irretrievably broken.
Florida Divorce Law
Under Florida state law, a divorce is referred to as the dissolution of marriage, meaning that the bond that united the couple is now legally gone, or dissolved. State Statute Sec. 61.052 governs the dissolution of marriage, and dictates two specific reasons a divorce may be granted in Florida:
- Mental incapacity, wherein one of the parties to the marriage suffers from a mental or physical illness or disease that prevents the person from being able to make decisions or be responsible for their actions. In this situation, a person would need to be judged as mentally incapacitated in a court of law for a period of at least 3 years before a court would grant a divorce on these grounds.
- The marriage is irretrievably broken. This is a far more common reason for couples seeking divorce. It doesn’t necessarily spell out the particular wrongs that one party or the other committed; it simply acknowledges that through a series of time and events, the marriage became broken, and is beyond repair.
The vast majority of couples seeking the dissolution of their marriage cite the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken The amount of time it takes to get a judgment for divorce will depend upon whether both parties agree that the marriage is indeed beyond repair, and whether they are in agreement on such matters as support and the distribution of assets.
Florida Divorce and Mediation
In cases where both parties are in agreement to end their marriage, and agree on issues of custody, support, and division of marital assets, a divorce may be granted in a number of weeks. In more complicated cases, where the couple disagrees on any of these issues, the parties may be required to attend court ordered mediation. Mediation allows both parties, through the assistance of both their lawyers and a mediator, to work out their differences without having to go through a lengthy trial. The purpose of mediation isn’t to save the marriage, but simply to come to an agreement as to the terms of the divorce.
Contact an Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer Today
If you are going through the painful process of a divorce or separation, contact an experienced Florida divorce lawyer right away. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we have extensive experience handling divorce matters, and can protect your interests through the process of both divorce as well as mediation. Serving all of Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our lawyers and staff understand the sensitive nature of divorce proceedings, and will be on your side every step of the way. Call us at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation regarding your case today.