Divorce FL – Navigating the dissolution of marriage in Florida can seem daunting. Here is a quick overview to get you started on understanding the essentials.

  • Residency Requirement: At least one spouse must have lived in Florida for a minimum of six months.
  • No-Fault State: You do not need to prove fault to obtain a divorce; simply stating the marriage is irretrievably broken is sufficient.
  • Process: Steps include filing the petition, preparing necessary forms, and potentially attending court if it’s a contested case.

Florida’s approach to divorce emphasizes both parties’ rights and responsibilities, aiming for equitable solutions particularly in terms of alimony, property division, and child custody, considering various factors such as duration of marriage and each spouse’s financial status.

In a state known for its sunshine, the legal shadows of divorce might seem intimidating. However, understanding Florida law and preparing for the necessary steps can illuminate a clear path forward. This guide aims to help Florida residents understand the critical aspects of filing for divorce here, from the foundational laws to the detailed process you’ll need to navigate.

Infographic describing quick facts about filing for divorce in Florida, including residency requirements, no-fault rules, and basic process steps - divorce fl infographic infographic-line-3-steps

Understanding Florida Divorce Law

When considering a divorce in FL, grasp the basics of Florida divorce law. This section will cover three key areas: Florida’s status as a no-fault state, the residency requirements for filing a divorce, and the option of simplified dissolution. Understanding these components will help you navigate your path more smoothly.

No-Fault State

Florida is recognized as a no-fault divorce state. This means that to dissolve a marriage, you do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong, like adultery or abuse. Instead, you can file for divorce under the grounds that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” or if a spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least three years. This approach aims to reduce the emotional strain that often accompanies the proof of fault, making the legal process slightly less stressful.

Residency Requirements

Before you can file for divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements. At least one of you must have lived in Florida for a minimum of six months prior to filing the divorce petition. Proof of residency can be established with a Florida driver’s license, state ID, voter registration, or an affidavit from a third party.

Simplified Dissolution of Marriage

For couples seeking a quicker resolution, Florida offers an option known as Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. This streamlined process is available if both parties agree on the division of assets and debts, waive their rights to trial and appeal, and do not have any minor or dependent children. Additionally, at least one of the parties must have resided in Florida for the required six months. Simplified dissolution can significantly speed up the process, allowing for a less complicated legal journey.

By understanding these fundamental aspects of Florida’s divorce laws, you’re better equipped to approach your divorce with confidence and clarity. Moving forward, you’ll need to prepare the necessary documents and consider the financial and parental aspects of your dissolution, which are covered in the next sections of this guide.

Filing for Divorce in FL

Filing for divorce in Florida, often referred to as “dissolution of marriage,” involves several key steps and documents. Let’s break down these elements to help you navigate this process smoothly.

Petition for Dissolution

The first step in filing for divorce in Florida is to complete the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This document officially starts the divorce process. You or your spouse must file this petition in the circuit court of the county where either of you resides. The petition must state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which is the legal way of saying it can’t be fixed.

When filling out the petition, you will need to provide:
– Full names and addresses of both spouses
– Details of any minor children
– A statement confirming Florida residency
– Information about your marriage, including the date of marriage and separation
– What you are asking for in terms of division of property, alimony, child support, etc.

Financial Affidavit

Each spouse must complete a Financial Affidavit within 45 days of serving the divorce petition. This document is crucial as it details your financial situation including income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Accurate and honest disclosure is mandatory to ensure fair decisions regarding alimony and property division.

There are two forms of financial affidavits in Florida:
Short Form (Family Law Financial Affidavit (Short Form) – Form 12.902(b)): For individuals with an annual income of less than $50,000.
Long Form (Family Law Financial Affidavit (Long Form) – Form 12.902(c)): For individuals with an annual income of $50,000 or more.

Child-Support Worksheet

If you have minor children, you’ll need to complete a Child Support Guidelines Worksheet. This form calculates how much child support one parent needs to pay to the other. It considers both parents’ incomes, the number of children, health insurance costs, daycare expenses, and other relevant factors.

This worksheet must be filed with the court at or before any hearing on child support to ensure the court has all necessary information to make an appropriate decision.

Child Support Calculation - divorce fl

By carefully preparing these documents — the Petition for Dissolution, Financial Affidavit, and Child-Support Worksheet — you lay the groundwork for your divorce proceedings. These forms play a critical role in how the court views your situation and what decisions are made regarding the dissolution of your marriage.

In the next section, we’ll explore the financial aspects of divorce in Florida, including alimony and the division of property, to further prepare you for what lies ahead in your divorce FL journey.

Financial Aspects of Divorce in Florida

When navigating a divorce FL, understanding the financial implications is crucial. This section will cover key financial aspects: Alimony, Division of Property, Retirement Plans, and Tax Returns.


In Florida, alimony is financial support one spouse pays to the other post-divorce. It’s not automatic but is awarded based on one spouse’s need and the other’s ability to pay. The court considers several factors:
– Length of the marriage
– Standard of living established during the marriage
– Each spouse’s financial resources and earning capacity

Types of alimony in Florida include:
Temporary: During the divorce process
Bridge-the-gap: Short-term support to transition to single life
Rehabilitative: Support to gain necessary skills for employment
Durational: Provided for a set period post-divorce
Permanent: Continued support, usually in long marriages or if one spouse cannot become self-sufficient

Division of Property

Florida follows the “equitable distribution” model for dividing marital assets and debts. This means the division is fair but not necessarily equal. Factors considered include:
– Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including care and education of children and homemaking
– Economic circumstances of each spouse
– Duration of the marriage
– Any interruption in personal careers or educational opportunities

Property classified as non-marital (acquired before marriage, inheritances, gifts from third parties) is generally not divided.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property. This includes:
– 401(k) plans
– IRA accounts
– Pension plans
The division of these assets is based on the contributions made during the marriage period.

Tax Returns

Handling taxes after a divorce can be complex. The implications include:
– Filing status changes
– Alimony payments are deductible for the payer and taxable income for the recipient (for divorces finalized before 2019)
– Claiming children as dependents

It is advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand how divorce will affect your tax obligations.

By understanding these financial aspects of a divorce FL, you can better prepare for the financial realities post-divorce. Accurate financial disclosures and understanding your rights and obligations will help ensure a fair settlement. In the next section, we’ll delve into child custody and support, another crucial aspect of divorce proceedings in Florida.

Child Custody and Support in Florida

When you’re navigating through a divorce FL, understanding how child custody and support work is crucial. This section will cover the essentials: creating a parenting plan, establishing timesharing, and calculating child support.

Parenting Plan

In Florida, the parenting plan is a detailed document that outlines how you and your ex-spouse will manage the upbringing of your children post-divorce. This plan includes:

  • Daily routines: Who takes the kids to school? Who handles pickups?
  • Healthcare: How are decisions made about medical appointments?
  • Education: Who decides on the school or tutoring?
  • Holidays and vacations: How will these be divided?

The goal is to ensure that the child’s life remains as stable as possible. If you and your spouse can agree on a plan, the court will usually approve it. If not, the court will impose one that serves the best interest of the child.


Timesharing refers to how each parent shares time with their children. Florida law encourages frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The schedule you set up will detail when the children will be with each parent on weekdays, weekends, during school breaks, and on special occasions.

Child Support Calculations

Child support in Florida is determined by a formula outlined in state guidelines. This formula considers:

  • Each parent’s income
  • The number of children
  • Healthcare and educational expenses
  • The timesharing arrangement

The result is a monthly payment that one parent will transfer to the other to cover the children’s expenses. Child support is a right that belongs to the child, not to either parent.

Example of Child Support Calculation

Suppose one parent earns $3,000 a month, and the other earns $2,000. They have two children. The parent earning more might pay a higher amount to the one earning less, adjusted according to the time each parent spends with the children.

Navigating child custody and support during a divorce can be complex. It’s not just about understanding the laws but also about applying them to your family’s unique situation. Always consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney like those at Cynthia Hernandez Law to guide you through this process. Next, we’ll explore how to navigate the broader legal system during your divorce in Florida.

Navigating the Legal System

Navigating the legal system during a divorce in FL can feel overwhelming. There are several key steps and processes to understand: mediation, contested final hearings, and automatic financial disclosure. Each plays a critical role in ensuring a fair and efficient resolution to your divorce proceedings.


Mediation is a crucial step in the Florida divorce process. It’s designed not to save a marriage, but to help both parties reach an agreement on various issues like property division, child custody, and alimony without going to court. This process involves a neutral third party who helps both spouses discuss and resolve disputes.

Benefits of Mediation:
Cost-effective: Generally less expensive than going to trial.
Faster resolution: Can resolve issues quicker than waiting for a court date.
Control: Couples have more control over the outcome.

Many Florida counties require mediation before a divorce can proceed to trial. This step can significantly reduce the emotional and financial strain of divorce by encouraging cooperative solutions.

Contested Final Hearing

If mediation fails to resolve all issues, the next step may be a contested final hearing, or “trial.” During this hearing, each spouse presents evidence and arguments for their desired outcomes in front of a judge. This includes testimony from both parties and any witnesses. The judge then makes the final decisions on any contested issues.

Key Points in a Contested Hearing:
Preparation: Both parties must gather and present evidence supporting their claims.
Representation: Lawyers from firms like Cynthia Hernandez Law can represent your interests and navigate the complexities of court procedures.
Decision: The judge’s decisions on issues like property division, custody, and support are legally binding.

Automatic Financial Disclosure

In Florida, automatic financial disclosure is mandatory in divorce cases where financial relief is sought. This process ensures that both parties share their financial details openly and honestly, which is crucial for fair decision-making regarding alimony, child support, and division of assets.

Requirements include:
Financial Affidavit: A detailed document listing each spouse’s income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.
Supporting Documents: Tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and more must be provided.
Deadline: These documents typically need to be exchanged within 45 days of serving the divorce petition.

Failure to comply with financial disclosure rules can lead to case dismissal or decisions made without considering a party’s data, which could significantly impact the final settlement.

By understanding and properly preparing for each of these steps, you can navigate your divorce with greater confidence and clarity. Whether through mediation or a contested hearing, being well-prepared is key. Firms like Cynthia Hernandez Law are equipped to guide you through this complex process, ensuring your rights and interests are protected every step of the way. Next, we’ll address some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce in Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce in FL

Navigating a divorce can be complex, and knowing the specifics of Florida law can help clarify many common concerns. Here are some frequently asked questions about divorce FL:

What is the wife entitled to in a divorce in Florida?

In Florida, the division of assets and liabilities is based on equitable distribution, which means the court divides marital assets and debts fairly, though not always equally. Both spouses are entitled to their share of:

  • Marital assets: Anything earned or acquired during the marriage (like homes, cars, and furniture).
  • Debts: Shared responsibilities for debts accrued during the marriage.

Factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic circumstances, and contributions to the marriage (such as homemaking and raising children) are considered. It’s important that both parties disclose all assets and liabilities to ensure a fair distribution.

How long do you have to be separated in Florida to get a divorce?

Florida does not require a separation period before filing for divorce. You can file for divorce on the grounds that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” without a mandated separation time. However, one of the spouses must have lived in Florida for at least six months before filing the divorce petition.

What is the 7 year divorce rule in Florida?

Florida does not have a “7 year divorce rule.” The state allows for divorce under two conditions:
– The marriage is irretrievably broken.
– One spouse has been mentally incapacitated for a period of at least three years.

The concept of a 7-year rule might be confused with other states’ laws or different legal terms, but it does not apply in Florida.

By keeping these FAQs in mind, you can better understand what to expect during the divorce process in Florida. For further guidance and to ensure your rights are protected, consider consulting with a knowledgeable attorney like those at Cynthia Hernandez Law, who are well-versed in divorce FL laws and can provide personalized assistance. Moving forward, let’s look at other common inquiries that arise during the dissolution of marriage in Florida.


As we wrap up our comprehensive guide on dissolving your marriage in Florida, underscore the importance of having a proficient legal partner by your side. At Cynthia Hernandez Law, we are committed to guiding you through every step of your divorce process with empathy, professionalism, and the tailored legal expertise that your unique situation demands.

Divorce is more than just a legal procedure; it’s a significant life transition that can impact every facet of your personal and financial life. That’s why our approach is not only focused on achieving legal outcomes but also on ensuring that you emerge from this process with your dignity intact and a clear path to your future.

Whether you are navigating the complexities of an uncontested divorce, dealing with the nuances of property division, or working through child custody and support arrangements, our team is here to provide the support and representation you deserve. With years of experience in family law, our firm has helped countless individuals in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties to close one chapter of their lives positively and start anew.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you through your divorce in Florida, consider reaching out to us at Cynthia Hernandez Law. We understand the intricacies of divorce FL laws and are dedicated to making the process as smooth and straightforward as possible. For more details on how we can assist you with an uncontested divorce, visit our Uncontested Divorce Tampa service page.

You don’t have to navigate this challenging time alone. Let us stand with you and help you move forward confidently and with peace of mind.