When two people get married, they want to believe their relationship will last forever. Unfortunately, for more than three out of every 1,000 people in the United States, their marriage will end in a divorce according to the latest federal statistics.

Divorce is difficult on an emotional level for all the parties involved, especially if they have children, but it can also cause financial and legal challenges for both spouses. If you are considering divorce in Florida, you need to know how the process works.

Grounds for divorce

In the Sunshine State, divorce is called “dissolution of marriage.” Florida is a no-fault divorce state, meaning spouses only need to declare that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” to file, and at least one spouse must be a resident for six months before beginning the process.

Within 45 days of filing the Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage, Florida requires that you submit a signed affidavit disclosing your finances, including:

  • Income and assets
  • Debts such as loans and credit cards
  • Bank statements
  • Personal financial statements

Dividing assets

Florida courts divide marital assets and debts during a divorce proceeding. Assets are any property that was acquired by both spouses during the marriage. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means courts will divide property in a fair manner, which doesn’t necessarily mean an equal split. Some of the factors the court considers are:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
  • Care, education and other needs of children
  • The length of the marriage
  • Desire of either spouse to retain the marital home
  • Attempts to hide, deplete or destroy marital assets within two years of filing

Protect your interests when considering a divorce

In addition to dividing marital assets, a court determines whether child support and alimony are appropriate, as well as the amount of the payments. When you face a major life decision, such as divorce, it’s essential to work with an experienced attorney who is also a Supreme Court-certified family law mediator who saves you time and money by achieving the settlement you deserve. However, your attorney can also fight for you in court if necessary to help you start the next chapter of your life on solid footing.