There’s an old joke: “Marriage is grand, divorce is fifty grand.” A contested divorce in Florida can indeed be expensive, complicated and long and drawn-out. Furthermore, the spouses are not always aware of their legal rights. This is why having a Tampa divorce lawyer to represent your interests is wise. There are many issues to consider when it’s time to end a marriage.
Requirements for a Divorce
The legal term in Florida is “dissolution of marriage.” It is also a “no-fault divorce” state. Neither party has to have a reason for wanting the dissolution. One or both spouses only need to demonstrate to the court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The only other requirements for filing a petition for divorce in the Sunshine State are (A) a marriage must exist between the parties, and (B) one or both parties must have established residency in Florida for no less than six months.
Division of Property
Aside from child custody, this is the most contentious issue in most divorce proceedings. Florida is not a community property state; each spouse remains the individual owner of any property they bring into the marriage as well as any property acquired during the marriage.
There may, however, be community assets (such as stocks and other investments) as well as liabilities (i.e. debts). In this case, the court will decide on what constitutes “equitable distribution.”
Florida law states that any underage children of the marriage should have continual contact with both parents as much as possible. Therefore, most divorcing couples will be awarded joint custody unless there is a compelling reason that one spouse should be given full custody (i.e., one of the spouses is prone to domestic violence). The law also stipulates that both spouses attend parenting classes before the dissolution of marriage is granted.