The Legal Side of Divorce: Getting To Know The Basics

Divorces can often get very ugly, especially when there are kids involved and when it comes to money. Even though a lot of people sit back and let their lawyers handle the talks, it is good to have a small idea of the basic legalities that are involved. Of course, every state has slightly different laws but the basic structure is usually quite similar.

What are the Grounds for Divorce?

If you are filing in Florida, at least one spouse must have resided here for a minimum duration of 6 months. Either spouse can ask for a divorce if they can prove that the marriage has broken down and there is no chance at all for any reconciliation to take place. Mental incapacitation of one partner for a minimum period of three years is also a valid ground. It is not necessary to prove that your partner is at fault if you are the one who wants to file.

Child Support and Custody

The official state guidelines in Florida are used to determine the amount of child support that should be provided. The payments will have to be made until the child reaches 18 years of age, unless the court states anything else. The only way that the amount of the support can change is if it is proved that the spouse has a major change in their income or if it is proved that the change is in the best interests of the child.

Custody is usually decided without taking into consideration the sex of the parent or of the child. Usually, the parenting responsibilities are divided as fairly as possible with taking into consideration a number of factors, including the emotional ties between the parent and the child, the location of the parent, their ability to provide the child with basic needs, etc. The primary residence as well as the visitation rights will also be decided by the judge.


Temporary or permanent alimony may be granted to a spouse who needs the support as long as the other partner has the ability to pay this alimony. A number of economic and lifestyle factors are taken into consideration while determining the amount to be paid along with the earning capacity of both parties and the duration of the marriage and other circumstances of the spouses.

Division of Property

Equitable distribution of property is usually followed in Florida. The marital property will include the various personal possessions as well as the real estate, the debt and the income. If the court feels it is justified, it may divide the property unequally. This could depend on the financial capacity of the spouses, the residence of the children after the divorce, the contribution of each spouse towards the property, etc.