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What grounds for divorce are available in Florida?

Readers of this Tampa-based family law blog may be familiar with the terms "fault" and "no-fault" when it comes to preparing a pleading for divorce. Generally, if a divorce is based on fault then one of the parties is considered responsible for the failure of the marriage and is at fault for the dissolution. If a divorce is based upon discord between the parties without a specific element of fault then the divorce is considered a no-fault proceeding.

Florida does not recognize fault-based divorces; if a person wants to pursue a divorce, called dissolution of marriage, in the civil courts of the state then they must use the recognized no-fault grounds for ending their marriage. They do this by claiming that their marriage is irretrievably broken and meeting the other filing requirements of divorce.

A second basis for ending a marriage in Florida exists but it is not considered a ground of fault. Rather, a divorce may proceed based upon the mental incapacity of one of the spouses. Use of this basis for a divorce is fact-specific and those who believe it may apply in their cases should discuss their plans with their legal representatives.

In sum, a Florida resident does not have to allege that their spouse engaged in adultery, abuse, desertion or any of the other grounds of fault utilized by other American jurisdictions in order to secure a divorce. They must, though, meet a significant list of procedural and filing requirements to move their divorces forward and should consider using the services of local family law attorneys to aid them as they strive to end their broken relationships.

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