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Divorce, Dissolution of Marriage, and Separation

Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyers

Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage is technically the legal separation of a Husband and Wife effectuated by a Judgment, Order, or Decree entered by a court of competent jurisdiction which results in a legal severance and dissolution of the parties' marriage.

In the State of Florida, dissolution of marriage actions are governed by Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes which provide the prerequisites for Florida's courts and their jurisdiction to enter a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. To obtain a divorce in Florida, one of the parties to the marriage must be a resident of the State of Florida for at least six months prior to the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Either party may be the resident of Florida whether it is the party filing the action or an out of state party filing for divorce against a Florida resident.

Florida residency is generally proved utilizing a Florida driver's license, voter's registration, or affidavit of a third party, however issues about residency arise on occasion creating litigation disputes. Without meeting the residency requirements, the Circuit Court is without subject matter jurisdiction or authority to enter a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage even if the parties agree to such action.

While no specific grounds for divorce are required in the State of Florida, the Petitioner must prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or in the alternative, that one of the parties has been adjudicated as incapacitated for a period of at least three years prior to the filing date in accordance with Chapter 744.331 of the Florida Statutes. "Irretrievably broken" means that the marriage is broken beyond all repair and there is no action that the parties or the Court can take to salvage the marriage. If there is an issue as to whether a marriage is irretrievably broken, the Court has the ability to suspend dissolution of proceedings and order marriage counseling or other measures in order to attempt to save the marriage.

In some instances where a dissolution of marriage is not appropriate, available, or based on specific circumstance and desire not to dissolve the marriage, a party may petition the Court for relief in a separate maintenance action without dissolution of marriage. While there is no "legal separation" in the State of Florida, a separate maintenance action may be utilized to determine and fix a spouse's rights for use of property, to obtain spousal support or child support, utilization of a home, maintenance of benefits, or for other purposes under a court order without actual dissolution of the marriage.

Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes further sets out relief which may be granted by the Court in conjunction with a dissolution of marriage proceeding including children's issues, alimony and spousal support, equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, restoration of former name, and procedures for enforcement and modification of such relief. Florida caselaw which consists of Florida District Court of Appeal decisions, Florida Supreme Court decisions, plus Federal law including statutes and caselaw further govern issues affecting divorce in the State of Florida where interpretation and constitutionality of the Florida Statutes are concerned.

At the Law Offices of Jonathan A. Zahler, P.A. we specialize in family law mediations and are committed to providing excellent representation to our clientele, whether or not they are represented by an attorney.

Family Law Issues Office Location

The Law Offices of Jonathan A. Zahler, P.A.
Florida Supreme Court Family Law Mediator
1830 Atlantic Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32207

Phone: 904-346-0640
Facsimile: 904-399-4540

Hours of Operation
Monday - Thursday: 9:00 A.M - 4:30 P.M.
Friday: 9:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Also Available by Appointment
Closed on all National & Courthouse Holidays
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