If you wonder whether serious misbehaviors which occur during your marriage can be used to your advantage during your divorce, the truth is, that while Florida law makes grounds relevant in some instances, most Florida residents take advantage of a no-fault divorce. In some ways, asking whether you need grounds for divorce is akin to asking if you really need a reason to get divorced, when, in fact, you have likely spent countless hours debating the wisdom of getting a divorce. Any way you look at it, divorce is tough, but in the state of Florida you don’t have to potentially make it tougher by claiming fault on the part of your spouse. The Law Place attorneys can stand by your side from start to finish during your divorce, watching your back and protecting your rights.
How the No-Fault Divorce Came to Be
Claiming fault in your divorce no longer has the implications it once had; California was the first state to adopt the no-fault divorce in 1969, and New York was the last, in 2010. While some people believe that the no-fault divorce caused the divorce rate to increase, in fact, in the years since no-fault divorce became the norm, the national divorce rate actually fell—from 23 divorces per 1,000 married couples in 1979, to under 17 divorces per 1,000 in 2005. Studies done by economists show that domestic violence and female suicides actually declined in each state which legalized no-fault divorce. On the flip side, other experts feel that a no-fault divorce tends to reward wrongdoers—or at the very least, fails to penalize them.
Grounds for a Florida Divorce
In order to take advantage of a no-fault divorce, you must claim that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. If you want to file for a divorce, you must prove that your marriage was indeed legitimate, and that you both believe the relationship cannot continue as a marriage. Florida law also states that if one spouse has had a mental illness for a period of thirty-six months or longer, the other spouse may seek a divorce based on that fact. At least two mental health experts must state that the mental incapacitation is not curable and that recovery is not possible. Claiming mental incapacity, regardless of what the law allows, is almost never asserted, as claiming the marriage is over is sufficient.
Grounds for divorce may factor into your situation in one of two ways:
• While legal separation—at least under that specific term—is not allowed in the state of Florida, “support unconnected with dissolution,” or a limited divorce is permitted. In this case, you can claim grounds of desertion, cruelty, or voluntary separation and can ask that your spouse pay a reasonable amount toward the monthly household bills as well as expenses for the children and even spousal support.
• When the judge in the divorce case is determining whether to award spousal support, the claim of adultery—and the circumstances surrounding that adulterous behavior—may be taken into consideration.
How We Can Help With Your No-Fault Divorce
While you will likely want to file for a no-fault divorce and claim irreconcilable differences, it can be helpful to talk it over with your Law Place attorney in order to ensure you have all the necessary facts and information. Claiming fault can sometimes backfire, causing your spouse to counter-claim fault, and making your divorce more difficult than it has to be. Our attorneys will assess your specific situation, clearly laying out your possible options. We have the necessary experience and knowledge of Florida law to help you through your divorce from start to finish.