Florida Divorce Law is Changing
Florida has been a no-fault divorce state for many years, which means divorce — or the dissolution of marriage — can be granted if one of the following conditions exists:
- The marriage is “irretrievably broken” (i.e., it cannot be saved)
- One spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years
In other words, in the state of Florida there is no longer a need to assign blame to the other spouse to obtain a divorce.
Elements of Divorce Law
The basic elements of the new Florida divorce law are:
- Residency requirement — One spouse must reside in the state for six months before filing a divorce petition.
- Mediation or counseling requirements — If issues involving primary residence, visitation or support are contested, the court may refer the divorcing parties to mediation.
- Property distribution — Marital assets in Florida are divided on an equitable basis. Many factors are considered, such as the contribution of one spouse to the career or educational opportunity of the other, or the intentional waste or destruction of marital assets within two years prior to the filing of the petition.
- Alimony— Two basic forms of alimony exist in Florida, temporary alimony (bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, durational and lump-sum) and permanent alimony. As of July 2011, the court awards permanent alimony only if no other type of alimony is deemed fair and reasonable under the circumstances of the parties. In other words, permanent alimony is being challenged.
- Child support — Child support in Florida is calculated according to the Uniform Child Support Guidelines. Major changes regarding the termination of support for older children and the policy regarding overnight visits were introduced in 2010.
- Custody — Custody law changed considerably in 2008, at which time visitation was replaced with the parenting plan and its corollary, time-sharing — and the emphasis shifted towards greater equality of parental rights and roles.
Feldman & Schneiderman, P.L. has a great deal of experience in the practice of Florida divorce law. We are thoroughly familiar with the new Florida new divorce laws and with the larger context of changing mores and parental roles. We use our knowledge of Florida law to your advantage.