Zachary A. VanDyke, PA
Panama City Attorney
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What is a "no fault" divorce?

In previous generations, when one spouse wished to end the marriage, he or she had to provide grounds for divorce and show that the other spouse was at fault for the destruction of the marriage. For example, the one asking for the divorce would have to provide evidence that the other spouse had engaged in infidelity or cruelty. This, in turn, meant that divorce cases were often highly contentious and very expensive.

In more recent times, Florida, along with many other states, abolished the need to show fault as grounds for divorce. Today, a spouse must only provide evidence that the marriage exists, that one spouse has been a resident of Florida for at least six months and that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."

The court doesn't need to know what led to the breakdown of the relationship before deciding to legally dissolve the marriage, although the court may consider any such information when considering how to divide the marital property, award alimony or administer a parenting plan.

While the advent of Florida's "no-fault" law makes divorce more accessible to more people, this doesn't mean it's easy. It is emotionally difficult to decide to end a marriage, no matter what the laws in place may be. On top of that, even those going through a very amicable divorce still must deal with work of dividing the marital property, determining child custody and visitation, child support and any alimony.

For all these reasons and more, it can be extremely important to have the help of a skilled lawyer when facing divorce. An attorney can help you understand your legal options, advise you on strategies and protect your rights so that you are in a stronger position when your divorce is finalized and you are ready to begin the next stage of your life.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Divorce In Florida," accessed Feb. 28, 2017

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