Divorce and Family Law


If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, it is important to understand the process and have all the facts so that you are able to make an informed decision for your family. By reading the information below, you can learn more about the qualifications needed to divorce in Florida. 


What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?

There are just two grounds for dissolution of marriage or divorce in Florida :

1. The marriage is “irretrievably broken” (can never be fixed); or

2. One of the parties has been declared mentally incapacitated by a judge for at least 3 years before filing for divorce.


In order to file for a Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) in Florida, one of the parties must be a resident of Florida for at least six months.


To obtain powerful legal counsel to guide you through the process, contact an experienced Florida divorce attorney at the Law Office of Robert D. Stein Esq. Call (941)-201-1214 or email: bob@bobsteinlaw.com.


1) Can an attorney represent both parties in a divorce? 

No. An attorney can only represent one side. However, a party can choose to represent himself or herself.

2.) How long will my divorce take? 

This  depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. If both parties are in agreement about custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and how to divide assets and debts, your divorce is uncontested. In this case, a divorce can be completed in under 90 days from the date of filing. If all of these issues are not resolved through negotiation and mediation, the parties will go to trial and the judge will decide each issue. Depending on the caseload of the court, a contested divorce can take  a year or more.

3)  How is child custody determined? 

Child custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of a minor. Child custody laws in Florida help determine which parent gets legal and physical custody. A parent with legal custody of a child can make educational, religious, medical, and disciplinary decisions. Through these laws, the courts will also decide who gets physical custody and establish where a child will live.

There are two types of custody arrangements in the state of Florida. Child custody can be awarded to one parent (known as sole custody) or to both parents (known as joint custody).

With sole custody, one parent gets legal and physical custody of a child. In a joint custody situation, both parents share legal and physical child custody. In Florida, joint custody is called shared parental responsibility, and both parents must approve all decisions related to the child. In this situation, one parent is named the primary joint custodian and the other parent is granted visitation so the child has a primary residence, school, and a designated primary physician.

4) What does child support cover?  

Child custody laws in Florida include a set of child support guidelines that must be followed when determining the amount of money allotted to raising a child. Generally, the court will look at the joint income of the parents and the number of children involved when determining how much support to issue. Sometimes the courts will allocate a part of the parents assets and place them into a trust or fund for education or other forms of support.

There are circumstances when child support payments can be changed. For example, if one parent suddenly has an increase or decrease in income, the court can modify child support payments. A Florida court could also change the amount of child support provided if a childs financial needs suddenly increase, which can occur if there are increased costs due to medical bills or schooling.

Because Florida receives federal public assistance funds, the state has established Floridas Child Support Enforcement Program to ensure children get financial support from both parents. The Child Support Enforcement Program also implements the Child Support Automated Management System (CAMS), an automated child support enforcement system. Families that do and do not receive federal public assistance can use the services.

Parents must pay child support until the child either finishes high school or turns 19 years old.

Under Florida law, child custody and child support are regulated to protect the rights of the child and the parent. Even if a divorce is amicable, each parent should seek help from a qualified lawyer to ensure the best outcome for all involved.

6) Am I entitled to alimony? 

Alimony or spousal support, is the monetary allowance ordered by the court that one spouse pays to the other either during the divorce process or after the divorce is final. Alimony is based on the financial need and earning potential of the receiving spouse and the ability to pay of the paying spouse. Florida provides for several types of alimony (short term or longer term) according to the circumstances of the case.