Like many other states across the country, Florida has adopted a “no fault” approach to its divorce proceedings. This means that a spouse who wishes to end their marriage can do so without proving specific grounds to the court before the dissolution of marriage is allowed. However, issues can still arise in a “no fault” divorce petition that can slow or stop the divorce proceedings from continuing.“No Fault” Grounds for Divorce
As a “no fault” state, Florida does not require that a spouse prove specific grounds for ending the marriage in court. Section 61.052 states that a person can simply plead in their petition for divorce that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that their spouse has been deemed mentally incapacitated for at least three years prior to the filing for divorce. The only corroboration needed when filing a petition for divorce is proof that the spouse filing has met the residency requirements for the state.Contesting the “No Fault” Grounds
Despite Florida being a “no fault” state, the other spouse in the divorce filing can still contest the petition for divorce. In the case of mental incapacity, notice of the divorce must still be given to their nearest blood relatives or guardian to speak on their behalf during the proceeding. The guardian or family members have a right to protect their loved one’s interests and can challenge whether the spouse has been mentally incapacitated for the proper amount of time.
In addition, a spouse can contest the claim that a marriage has been irrevocably broken. This can happen when there is a minor child of the marriage or if the other spouse contests the petition. A judge has the discretion to do the following to determine whether the marriage is in fact irretrievably broken:
- Order either or both parties to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi, or any other person deemed qualified by the court
- Continue the proceedings for a reasonable length of time not to exceed three months, to enable the parties themselves to effect a reconciliation
- Take such other action as may be in the best interest of the parties and the minor child of the marriage
However, it is important to note that if your marriage has had problems with domestic violence or other issues that you feel would make it unsafe to try to continue to work towards reconciliation you can bring those issues before the judge, who can then take that into consideration when determining whether the marriage is in fact irretrievably broken.Call a Fort Lauderdale Family Law Attorney
Despite being a “no fault” state, filing for divorce in Florida can still be a complicated process. If you or someone that you know wishes to file for divorce in the Fort Lauderdale area, let the experienced family law attorneys at Stok Kon + Braverman help. Call or contact the office today for a private and free review of your case.