Is one person filing for divorce in Florida enough?
Are you contemplating divorce, but your husband or wife is not on board? The new year can be a time of change and if you decide 2021 is the year you will move forward to end your marriage, you can start the proceedings yourself.
Initiating a Florida divorce proceeding
A Florida court may grant a divorce when the marriage is “irretrievably broken” or one spouse has been legally incapacitated for at least three years. The irretrievable breakdown of a marriage is Florida’s no-fault divorce standard, meaning that the court may issue a divorce decree without the parties having to show one of them was at fault in ending the marriage. If one or both sincerely want a divorce, it would be hard to prove that the marriage isn’t broken for purposes of Florida divorce eligibility.
One spouse can begin divorce proceedings by filing a petition to dissolve the marriage if at least one of them has lived in the state for at least six months. The petitioner should file in the Florida county in which the spouses last lived as a married couple with the intention to stay married. The venue question gets more complex when the non-filing spouse (called the respondent) does not live in Florida or the marriage was last intact in another state or country.
Service of process
Service is the official process of giving the respondent notice that the petitioner has filed for divorce. The court will issue a summons that must be served on the other party along with a copy of the petition. Service is normally personal (documents handed personally to the recipient), performed by an officer or someone the court appoints.
In certain situations, the petitioner may need to serve by mail or by publication in a local newspaper. Overall, there are detailed rules for proper service and compliance is important because if the responding spouse does not get proper notice of the divorce proceeding, the court will not have the power to decide the case.
In part 2 of this post, we will talk about what happens next.