If you’re looking to get, prevent or understand divorce in Florida, you may have come across the concept of “no-fault law.” Though no-fault is commonly associated with car accidents, in Florida, divorces can also be considered no-fault.
But what does that mean exactly?
No-fault divorce law means that spouses don’t need to prove any kind of fault or wrongdoing on their partner’s end to initiate a divorce. All one has to do is claim that their marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order to seek a divorce. Unlike at-fault divorce states, Florida does not require proof of a spouse’s wrongdoing for a divorce to be granted.
In Florida, the court will ask if the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” If the spouse seeking a divorce responds “yes”, he or she may file for divorce. In other words, the court takes the word of the spouse seeking the divorce, without requiring proof of fault on either spouse.
This, however, also means that Florida divorces do not need to be agreed upon by both spouses. If one party claims and concludes that the marriage is broken, then the divorce is likely to be dissolved.
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Although no wrongdoing needs to be proven when filing, judges still require an adequate explanation for the divorce, even if it is just falling out of love. In cases of abuse or long-standing separation, divorces are more likely to be granted.
Despite divorce in Florida being no-fault, there are certain cases where a judge may order a couple to seek marriage counseling before granting the divorce. This is usually done if minor children are involved or if one partner brings a compelling case for the marriage not being broken.
Division of Property and Assets
Even though proof of fault is not required to file for divorce in Florida, there are cases in which wrongdoing can change the way property and assets are divided between spouses. If one spouse uses marital assets inappropriately during the marriage, the other spouse may provide evidence that the funds or assets were misused in order to receive credit for his or her share of those assets.
For example, if a husband chooses to use any money he or his wife has earned during their marriage to purchase a car for his mistress, the wife can request that her share of what her husband spent on the car be credited to her.
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This can also be the case if the husband is spending the couple’s savings unreasonably during the divorce. That can mean anything from unnecessary trips and purchases to gambling. This, however, does not apply if the spouse is using assets and funds to pay for reasonable expenses, such as an existing car or mortgage payment.
If there is no foul play involved in the way money is spent by the couple during the divorce, property and assets are divided equally, regardless of fault. For example, if one spouse cheated on the other and the one filing for divorce requests that the judge order no alimony due to the other spouse cheating, it will not be granted.
Since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, wrongdoing is not taken into account when dividing assets, so long as assets were not being misused by either party.
Do You Need Help With Your Florida Divorce?
The Florida divorce process is relatively simple, but it can be a bit confusing and time-consuming, especially in the midst of a separation. If you need help getting or preventing a divorce, The Aguilera Law Center, P.A., is here to help. Give our office a call today at 305-255-FIRM or contact us online to connect with one of our expert attorneys to learn what you need to do to.