Divorce Information

Divorce Information


In Florida, like most other states, you must state in your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the legal reasons for your divorce. The reasons for divorce are also referred to as the grounds for divorce. In the state of Florida, the two grounds are:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broker The marriage is irretrievably broker
  • The of the parties is mentally incapacitated.

A marriage is considered broken down when it has ended for all intents and purposes. You do not have to prove the “breakdown” with documents, if it is your opinion that our marriage is no longer viable or there is no hope of reconciliation. The parties, which is the Husband and Wife in the Dissolution Action, do not have to agree on whether the marriage has “broken down” and is “irretrievable.” Only one party needs to assert the breakdown and as a matter of law, it will be accepted by the Court. Your mediated agreement, which is commonly called the “Marital Settlement Agreement” often states that the parties agree that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that there is no hope of reconciliation.

Some of the reasons that are commonly considered to represent an irretrievable breakdown is

⦁ Long periods of separation
⦁ No love or desire to be married to the other spouse
⦁ Emotional abuse
⦁ Not suitable for one another
⦁ Alcohol or substance abuse
⦁ Many other reasons of incapability

If one of the parties is thought to be mentally incapacitated, and the grounds for divorce is stated to be based on the other party’s mental incapacity, there is a burden of presenting written medical documentation to prove this incapacity. Since the “no-fault” grounds of “Irretrievable breakdown” do not require that both spouses agree, or that “written proof” be shown to the court, this legal ground of mental incapacity is not frequently used to substantiate the divorce grounds in a Florida state divorce legal action.

What Is A Contested Divorce?

Divorce Information

A contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot agree on all or a portion of the terms of the divorce. The “terms” are different from the “grounds for divorce.”

Reaching a settlement may become contentious when couples want to reach agreement on how property is to be divided and distributed or liabilities and debts allocated after a divorce. Settling is oftentimes difficult because the couple is unable to communicate effectively and/or compromise their positions, on issues such as the division of marital assets and property, how they will continue to parent their children and provide support for a child or a spouse in need of support, or how debt will be paid.

Oftentimes a certified family and divorce Mediator can assist couples in communicating when they have difficulty communicating on their own or through their attorneys. If the parties are unable to reach agreement and settlement on all relevant issues, the divorce must be heard and decided by a Judge.


A Mediator can be used in lieu of having a Judge decide the issues in a divorce action. Couples work together with a Mediator, who is an unbiased third party, to reach consensus and finalize the divorce details. Mediation is frequently sought by couples “pre-suit” before a divorce action is started. It is also a method used by parties during an ongoing divorce case when one or more limited issues such as custody or times haring with minor children have not been settled. Couples may choose this type of dispute resolution to complete their divorce as a way to have more control, rather than have a Judge decide the outcome. A Mediator can also assist you in filing court documents and help you and your spouse communicate so that you can reach a settlement agreement. The mediated Agreement is presented to the Court for your uncontested divorce to be finalized. You can decide with your spouse which approach to take to divorce, whether it is mediation or litigation.


Hiring a divorce attorney is your best option if you need legal protection from your spouse, legal advice, or if your spouse has already retained a lawyer. It is also your best option if you are not able to or do not desire to communicate and negotiate directly with your spouse in a mediation setting. Another reason to hire an attorney is if you have substantial financial assets, your spouse is self-employed and/or you do not know what your spouse’s assets are and there is likelihood that a careful and close review of past and present finances are likely. A divorce attorney can engage in “discovery” and investigate your spouse’s assets. An accurate identification of assets is key to reaching a fair settlement agreement. Additionally, if you feel intimidated as the result of domestic violence, negotiating without a divorce lawyer is often an unsuccessful approach as you are not in an equal bargaining position.