Filing for divorce in the state of Florida, a person initiating the proceedings has to indicate the reason they want to end their marriage. However, instead of listing their own reason, they need to choose one of the legal grounds for divorce recognized by the state.
In Florida, there are only two grounds for divorce:
- The marriage is irretrievably broken
- One of the parties is mentally incapacitated
The validity of either of these grounds has to be proven in court in order for a judge to grant spouses a divorce.
Are There Any Fault-Based Reasons for Divorce in Florida?
No. While some states, such as Alabama or Georgia, allow filing based on the fault grounds like cheating or abandonment, Florida divorce statutes do not offer such an option. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that spouses cannot legally put the blame on each other for their marriage coming to an end to get more property or alimony during the proceedings.
However, it does not mean that domestic violence or any type of abuse will go unnoticed by the court in a divorce. Upon request and with enough evidence provided, a judge will be able to make orders protecting the victims of abuse before the marriage dissolution is granted.
Most of the Florida no-fault divorces are initiated based on the irretrievable breakdown. It practically means that spouses are unable to get along anymore and cannot maintain their relationship. Even if none of the spouses contests this fact, it doesn’t mean that a judge will grant them divorce as it would be necessary to prove that the marriage is not sustainable anymore.
A judge can prolong the process to allow the couple to reconcile if:
- There are minor children
- A spouse contests the reason for divorce
- A judge reaches a conclusion that a marriage can be saved
The court can also order one or both spouses to visit counseling sessions or consult any suitable professional in a similar field. There may be other orders of a similar kind made if a judge deems them necessary for the divorcees or their children.
Mental Illness as a Ground in Florida
According to Florida statutes, dissolution of marriage can be granted on the basis of the claim that the second party is mentally incapacitated as long as the following requirements are met:
- The person against whom the claim is made should be classified as mentally incapacitated for at least 3 years before the petition is filed.
- The court-appointed committee of suitable professionals reports that the incapacitated individual is indeed in the state their spouse claims them to be.
- The filing party sends the notice of the divorce proceedings to their ex-spouse’s closest relative or guardian.
If your spouse does not have a legal guardian, the court will appoint such a person during the divorce proceedings. Note that if the dissolution of marriage in Florida is granted based on mental incapacity, you may be ordered to pay spousal support to your ex.