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This is Why Florida is a “No Fault” Divorce State

Florida is a “No Fault” divorce state.  This means that parties do not have to accuse one another of doing harm to the marriage, such as by committing adultery or domestic violence, for a judge to grant a dissolution of marriage.  Rather, a party merely needs to allege that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

The usual test that a Tampa Bay judge gives to determine whether the marriage is irretrievably broken is to ask the question, “Would therapy or counseling help repair the marriage?”  If either party states that counseling would not help, a final decree of divorce will likely be granted.

As it turns out, England is not a “No Fault” divorce jurisdiction.  The New York Times reports that, since English parties must give reasons for seeking divorce, the court record is filled with highly personal, and sometimes downright wacky, divorce allegations.  Below are some of those allegations:

  • A husband insisted that his wife dress in a Klingon costume and speak to him in Klingon;
  • A wife maliciously and repeatedly served her husband the food he least liked: tuna casserole;
  • A wife spitefully tampered with her husband’s television antenna and, even worse, threw away his cold cuts; Read more

Does Florida Have A Waiting Period For Divorce?

Oftentimes when potential clients come into my office for a consultation, I get asked the following question:  “Does Florida have a waiting period for divorce?”

In fact, Florida does have a waiting period.

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Helping Teens Cope With Divorce

I came across a great article at the Divorce Saloon concerning how parents with teenagers can help their children deal with divorce.  Towards the bottom of the article the author, Brenda Monteau, provides these five tips:

1) Set boundaries. Just because you are divorced doesn’t mean that you allow your teen to do whatever he or she wants. Don’t let your guilt of “breaking up the family” get in the way of parenting. Just because teens are older than younger kids doesn’t mean they don’t need boundaries, or that they don’t need their parents to act like parents.

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Potential Disadvantages of Collaborative Law

Though I have advocated the use of the collaborative process in family law cases (for example, here, here, and here), it is only fair to note that there may be disadvantages to a collaborative law case.  Jon Crouch over at The Family Law New Blog explores some of those potential disadvantages:

1. In litigation, you can use the timing and immense stress and fear of impending trials to get people to sign settlements they never would agree to if they actually had time to consider them.

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Divorce and “No Fault”

Since last year, New York, like Florida, has become a “no fault” divorce state.  Generally, this means that spouses don’t have to allege wrongdoing to have their marriage dissolved.  A petitioner simply has to allege that the marriage is broken beyond repair, and maybe give a few facts (such as a statement that the parties no longer are in love). But, according to attorney Doug Kepanis, at least one New York judge requires more:

In the case of Strack v. Strack, a wife sought to divorce her husband based on the New York “no fault” divorce statute. She alleged, in accordance with the statute, that “the relationship between husband and wife has broken down such that it is irretrievable and has been for a period of at least six months.” This is basically a paraphrase of the actual law.

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What is a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage?

Did you know that Florida offers a type of divorce that is relatively quick and painless?  This type of divorce does away with most of the mandatory financial disclosure requirements of other types of divorce, and you may be able to schedule a final hearing within a month of filing your paperwork.

What I am describing is known in Florida as a “simplified dissolution of marriage.”

Generally, a simplified dissolution of marriage is ideal for cases where there is a short-term marriage, no children, few (if any) shared assets, and you and your spouse are on good speaking terms.

Keep in mind that Florida does not allow everyone to go through the simplified process. You can only file for a simplified dissolution of marriage if all of the following statements are true:

  • You and your spouse have not had children together, either by birth or adoption;
  • The wife is not pregnant;
  • Either you or your spouse (or both) have resided in Florida for at least six months prior to filing for divorce;

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Procedures for Mediation in Pasco and Pinellas Counties

The Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas Counties) recently released Administrative Order 2011-006 PA/PI-CIR which sets out the following procedures for mediation in family law matters:

Family Mediation:

a. When ordered by the presiding judge, or when automatically referred to mediation in accordance with this Administrative Order, parties must participate in mediation of family cases. Read more

Helping Kids Cope With Divorce

School counselor Leslie King and teacher Daryl Sollerh offer some tips at the Huffington Post on how to help children cope with their parents’ divorce:

First, let’s face it: No one is a saint. No one is immune to the pain, challenges and uncertainties a separation or divorce can visit on a family — especially not children.

So even though mom and dad may be moving through some of the most potentially stressful and sad periods of their own life, they still are somebody’s mom or dad, and must try to find a way to help their child, even if they themselves feel as if they are not getting much help from friends or the world.

Should your child rage, do your best not to take it personally, even when it is directed at you. Try to give yourself the space and time to recognize that they too need to vent their feelings, especially the most gut-wrenching ones. It is better that they release the feelings inside them as best they can, instead of bottling them up, which could prove far more damaging in the long run.

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Video: Reducing the Costs of Your Divorce

The following video from eHow describes how spouses may reduce the costs of their divorce:

Parties should utilize alternative dispute resolution techniques such as mediation to help them reach agreements and reduce time and expense.

Spanish-Language Video on Children and Divorce

As I wrote in my previous post, the Virgina State Bar Association’s Family Law Section produced a video entitled “Spare the Child” which discusses how to safeguard the emotional well-being of children during divorce and other family law proceedings.  The section has also produced a Spanish-language version of the video, entitled “Proteger al Niño.”  You may access this video after the jump:

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