Skip to main content
Florida Resource
Divorce Attorneys
Cordell & Cordell divorce attorneys exclusively practice family law with a focus on men’s divorce.

Divorce in Florida: Florida Divorce Law FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?

There are two grounds for divorce in FL, formally referred to as “dissolution of marriage”: irreconcilable differences and mental incapacity of the other party. If mental incapacity is alleged, the party alleged incapacitated must have been adjudicated incapacitated for a period of three years prior to filing for dissolution of marriage.

What are the requirements for a divorce in Florida?

Florida does not place any requirements on a couple’s situation, before they can begin the process of filing for a traditional divorce. Couples who want to pursue the simpler marriage dissolution process must be in full agreement on the terms of the divorce and not have any minor children.

How much is a divorce in Florida?

It is very difficult to say how much your divorce in Florida will cost due to all of the variables in a particular case. You and your attorney should discuss the different variables in every case generally and in your case specifically. Whether you can afford an attorney will depend, of course, on your income and assets and whether you would be entitled to an award of attorney’s fees paid by your spouse.

Do I really need to hire an attorney for a divorce in Florida?

Divorce laws can be complex and even counter-intuitive. You need the advice of an experienced family lawyer to discuss the particular issues in your case and the corresponding laws regarding each issue to fully understand your financial exposure to alimony and child support, the equitable distribution of your assets and debts and whether those assets and debts could be unequally divided, and the factors the court considers when establishing a parenting plan for your children.

Can I get alimony in Florida or will I have to provide spousal support to my ex?

The Florida divorce law regarding spousal support includes many factors the court considers when determining if a spouse is entitled to support, what type of support, and how much to award. You need to speak to an experienced family lawyer and discuss the facts in support of your claim for support or exposure to paying support to your spouse.

Who gets the house in a divorce in Florida?

During a divorce in Florida, a judge will determine the division of physical property based on a number of different factors that are unique to each situation. Preference is often given to allowing children to remain in the home.

What is a wife entitled to in divorce in Florida?

Florida is an equitable distribution state, where property is divided based on factors including the length of the marriage, the income and financial contributions of each spouse, and any children they might have.

Can I change my name at the time of divorce in Florida?

The wife can ask the court to restore her maiden name as long as the request is not an attempt to commit fraud, any criminal or illegal activity, or for the purpose of filing or related to any bankruptcy proceedings.

Can I get an annulment instead of a divorce in Florida?

An annulment makes it so the marriage never occurred. Annulments are rare in family law. There are no specific statutes in Florida that govern annulment and the court falls back on existing case law to make a decision. The grounds must involve grievous misrepresentations by one spouse to another. Examples include fraud, duress, consanguinity (you learned after the wedding that you are related to him or her by blood), or impotence. Impotence means that one party is incapable of having sex, and it should not be confused with an inability to procreate. You should discuss the particular facts of your case that cause you to believe an annulment is possible with an experienced family lawyer.

How long do you have to be a resident of Florida to file for divorce?

In order for the court to have subject-matter jurisdiction to enter dissolution of marriage, one of the parties must reside in the state of Florida for six months before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage and must have the intent to remain a resident of Florida at the time of filing. Once you have lived in Florida for the requisite period of time, and you have a ground for divorce, you can file for divorce.

How long does a divorce take in Florida?

There are a lot of variables that effect how long a case will take. It is important to choose an experienced family lawyer to aggressively move your case forward while ensuring competent and comprehensive representation.

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, or before the divorce can be finalized. The parties involved need only to have been a resident of Florida for 6 months.

Do I have to go to court for a divorce in Florida?

In most jurisdictions, the only time you will have to go to court will be to attend a case management conference. A case management conference is held so the court can be informed as to the status of the case and make orders moving the case forward. The majority of Florida divorce cases settle at mediation. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement at mediation, the case will be scheduled for trial. During the course of a case, other issues may arise that need court intervention such as non-compliance with the exchange of documents and information.

If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

If you are unable to serve your spouse, you can ask the court for the ability to perfect service by publication. The court will require that you use due diligence to locate your spouse prior to allowing service by publication.

At what point during the divorce process can a spouse remarry or start dating in Florida?

You must wait until the court enters a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage before you can remarry. There are no Florida laws regarding when you can start dating. However, if children are involved, there may be strategic reasons why you should not. You should discuss this issue with your attorney prior to deciding to date.

What if my spouse does not agree to a divorce?

There is a divorce law in Florida that gives the court the authority to abate the proceedings and order the parties to 90 days of marital counseling. This statute is rarely invoked because if one of the parties truly believes that the marriage is irretrievably broken and marital counseling will not help, the court is likely to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Do issues like child support, child custody, alimony, and property have to be decided before the divorce is final?

Not necessarily, but most likely. The court can bifurcate a case and divorce the parties prior to ruling on the other issues, but only in very extraordinary circumstances such as when one of the parties is terminally ill and likely to pass away prior to adjudication on the issues in the case.

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in Florida?

No, but Florida will retain jurisdiction over your case.

What if I am in the military and out of state?

If you are in the military, there are special laws that provide guidance to where divorces can be filed. You will need to discuss your particular relationship to Florida with an experienced family lawyer to ascertain if Florida is the proper state in which to file.

What forms do I need to file for a divorce in Florida?

You will need a Civil Case Cover Sheet, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Notice of Social Security, and Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act Affidavit (if there are children born of the marriage) to file for divorce. There are other mandatory financial disclosure documents that need to be filed during the case.

How do you file for divorce in Florida?

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and accompanying documents are filed at the family law courthouse in the jurisdiction where you and your spouse last lived as husband and wife. The documents are generally taken to the courthouse by the process server who asks the clerk of court to file the documents and issue a summons. Once the summons has been issued and documents filed, the process server will personally serve all the documents on your spouse.

How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse?

You must hire a process server or sheriff to serve the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and accompanying documents.

How is a divorce granted in Florida?

You will have to go to court if you are the petitioner and prove the residency requirements and grounds for divorce if all of the issues in the case have been agreed upon by the parties and memorialized in writing in a Marital Settlement Agreement. If the parties have not settled all of the issues, the court will make rulings on the issues and then grant the divorce.

What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?

A person representing his or herself (called a pro se litigant) will have to become familiar with state procedural laws and circuit court procedural rules to obtain a divorce. What typically happens is that the pro se litigant will learn the procedural rules by first not following proper procedure, which is extremely time-consuming and frustrating. Having an experienced family lawyer will ensure that proper procedures are followed for expedient adjudication of your case.

Can a parent change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission during a divorce in Florida?

No, a parent must have the Petition for Change of Name personally served on the other parent.

Does Florida have common law marriage?

There is no common law marriage in Florida.

Frank Murphy

Edited By Frank Murphy

Chief Compliance Officer
Frank Murphy

Frank Murphy is the Chief Compliance Officer and an Executive Partner at Cordell & Cordell. His responsibilities include oversight of the Firm’s compliance with Legal and Ethical obligations as well as contributing to the day-to-day operations of the Firm as an Executive Partner.

lawyer meeting client for consultation
Book Your Initial Consultation

Florida Resource Articles

    lawyer meeting client for consultation

    Florida Family Law Offices

    We have 200+ attorneys serving 35 sates.
    Connect with a local Cordell & Cordell attorney for accurate, state-specific legal advice on divorce, custody, and spousal support issues.
    cordell icon white

    Why Hire
    Cordell & Cordell?

    Men hire Cordell & Cordell because the firm’s entire focus is on aggressively championing the rights of men and fathers through divorce. Our attorneys understand how the deck is often stacked against guys in family law and are committed to leveling the playing field by providing the legal guidance and resources needed to give them a fair chance at success.