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New Bill Proposes Exception for In-State Residency Requirement for Divorces

Last month, a new bill seeking to carve out an exception to Florida’s residency rule for individuals seeking divorce came at an appropriate time, as Domestic Violence Awareness Month was in October. In his proposal, Representative Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) directly addressed the state’s residency requirement as a prerequisite for filing a divorce.

Domestic violence can unfortunately be an issue for some marriages, and breaking free from this dangerous situation is not easy. Some Florida domestic violence statistics include:

  • Incidents of domestic violence reported – 106, 882;
  • Domestic violence-related arrests – 64,460;
  • Deaths resulting from domestic violence – 205;
  • Hotline calls responded to by domestic violence centers – 99,130; and
  • Centers providing shelter to victims – 42 shelters, 15,397 survivors and their children.

Requirements for a Florida Divorce

Under current Florida law, in order to be eligible to file for dissolution of marriage at least one of the parties must be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing the petition. An individual’s residency is substantiated by his or her sworn complaint. Generally, all courts require residency verification. Improper proof of residency can be detrimental to a divorce case. Indeed, if the court finds out that it does not have jurisdiction over the matter, the case will not be heard or eventually will be dismissed.

If Representative Beshears’ bill passes, this six-month requirement would be waived for those individuals who are victims of physical or verbal abuse in their marriage.

Beyond the residency requirement, there are other factors to consider if you or someone you know is facing divorce:

  • Beginning the process – a spouse may file a petition for divorce with the appropriate court; once the soon-to-be ex spouse is served with the divorce papers, he or she has a certain amount of time to respond;
  • Marital assets – assets amassed during the marriage are known as “marital assets” and will be equitably distributed by the court; “non-marital assets” or those acquired prior to marriage can be kept by each corresponding spouse;
  • Alimony – an extension of the obligation of spouses to support one another includes alimony, which may be awarded by a court after looking at certain factors to determine whether or not payment is well founded;
  • Custody – unless there are extenuating circumstances that establish it would be detrimental to the child or children, a court will likely grant shared responsibility of the children to the parents; and
  • Child support – state law provides statutory guidelines that judges use when determining child support including the need and how much each parent is responsible for paying.

Orlando Divorce Attorney

Whether you or someone you know is working through a divorce, is considering divorce, or is dealing with any other type of family law issue a seasoned Orlando divorce attorney can help with navigating this complicated area of the law. Call the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. for your initial case evaluation at (407) 521-7171.

Steve W. Marsee, P.A.

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