Jurisdiction – The Residency Requirement

To obtain a divorce in Florida a person must meet certain jurisdictional requirements. Required is that at least one party seeking the divorce must have resided in Florida for at least 6 months prior to filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. The Florida statute residency requirement is as follows: “Residence requirements —To obtain a dissolution of marriage, one of the parties to the marriage must reside 6 months in the state before the filing of the petition” Florida Statute 61.021. Therefore, at least one party must meet the residency requirement of the statute in order for a Florida court to have jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. If the party filing for divorce is a non-resident of Florida, then they may use the residency status of the other party as a resident of Florida to file for divorce in the state Florida.

Residency means an actual presence in the state along with the intention to remain in the state. Florida statute 196.012(17) – “Permanent residence” means that place where a person has his or her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to which, whenever absent, he or she has the intention of returning. A person may have only one permanent residence at a time.”

Whether a party meets the residency requirement must be corroborated and may be satisfied by valid Florida driver’s license, Florida voter registration card, Florida identification card or testimony or affidavit of third party.

“Based on the evidence at the hearing, which evidence need not be corroborated except to establish that the residence requirements of s. 61.021 are met which may be corroborated by a valid Florida driver license, a Florida voter’s registration card, a valid Florida identification card issued under s. 322.051, or the testimony or affidavit of a third party,”

Florida Statute 61.052(2)

Grounds for Divorce

In addition to the residency requirement there is also the grounds for divorce requirement, the marriage must be irretrievably broken or mental incapacity of one of the parties. Florida is a no-fault divorce state and by the Florida Statute only two grounds for a divorce exist in Florida and they are:

(1) No judgment of dissolution of marriage shall be granted unless one of the following facts appears, which shall be pleaded generally:

(a) The marriage is irretrievably broken.

(b) Mental incapacity of one of the parties. However, no dissolution shall be allowed unless the party alleged to be incapacitated shall have been adjudged incapacitated according to the provisions of s. 744.331 for a preceding period of at least 3 years.

Florida Statute 61.052(1)

It is not necessary for both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievable broken, only one party needs to want to end the marriage. However, the Court may order up to a maximum of 3 months of counselling to allow the parties time to reconcile, if there are minor children or if only party wants the divorce.

When there is a minor child of the marriage, or when the responding party denies by answer to the petition for dissolution that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may:

1. 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 and acceptable to the party or parties ordered to seek consultation; or

2. Continue the proceedings for a reasonable length of time not to exceed 3 months, to enable the parties themselves to effect a reconciliation; or

3. Take such other action as may be in the best interest of the parties and the minor child of the marriage.

Florida statute 61.052(2)(b)

Meeting the residency requirement of 6 months as a Florida resident and the grounds requirement of the marriage being irretrievable broken or mental incapacity are a must to obtain a Florida divorce.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, you should contact an experienced family law attorney. Forefront Law is available to assist with divorces, custody, and support modification throughout the Jacksonville and surrounding areas. Call (904) 733-9080 or complete our online contact form to get the guidance you need today.

The experienced team at Forefront Law will be your advocates and work diligently to get you through the divorce process.

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