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What Do I Have to Prove in Order to Get a Florida Divorce?

It used to be that you had to say bad things about your spouse in order to get a divorce. You had to accuse your spouse of abandonment, adultery, physically abuse, mental cruelty or some other harmful act.

The state of Florida decided many years ago that requiring you to sling mud at your spouse in order to get divorced was not a good idea - especially when there are kids involved. They determined that spouses with children were going to have a difficult enough time co-parenting after the divorce without first having to go through a legal brawl just to prove that the divorce should take place.

They changed the law to require only a statement that the marriage is "irretrievably broken" in order to get a divorce. That is, the marriage is broken and can't be fixed. It only takes one of the spouses to say it in order for it to be so. If your spouse tells the judge that the two of you could go to counseling and work out the marriage, but you say that counseling won't work, the judge will tell your spouse, "I'm sorry, but your spouse says the marriage is irretrievably broken and therefore it is."

When they changed that law, they also changed the name of the process from "divorce" to "dissolution of marriage". Nowhere in the Florida Statutes is the word "divorce" used anymore. People (even expert divorce lawyers and judges) still call it "divorce" because that has fewer syllables and is easier to say, but the proper term is "dissolution of marriage".

Bottom Line: From this divorce attorney, to get divorced in Florida, only one spouse needs to say that the marriage is broken and can't be fixed.

(copyright Stann Givens 2009)


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