If you have decided to get a divorce, one of the very first questions you are bound to ask is where you need to go to file for the dissolution of your marriage. In the state of Florida, this is understandably not as straight-forward an issue as it might be in other states across the country.
Certain couples may be “snowbirds,” meaning people who own property in the Sunshine State but only live here for extended portions of the winter while spending much of the remainder of the year in another state. Other situations are complicated by couples who have separated and are now living in different cities, counties, or even states. As long as you or your spouse is a legal resident of Florida, you will be able to file for divorce here.
If you are seeking to end your marriage and file for divorce in Florida, an experienced attorney at Adkinson Law Firm, LLC can help ensure that your process is completed as smoothly as possible. Clay B. Adkinson and Clayton J. M. Adkinson will protect all of your rights and fight for resolutions that serve your best interests.
Our firm represents clients in South Walton, Pensacola, Navarre, Panama City, Crestview, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Milton, and DeFuniak Springs. Call today to have our Florida divorce attorney review your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Under Florida Statute § 61.021, one of the parties to the marriage must reside in Florida for six months before filing a petition to obtain dissolution of the marriage. In order to prove Florida residency, a person will need to have one of the following:
A final judgment on the dissolution of a marriage cannot be entered until at least 20 days after the date the original petition for dissolution of marriage was filed, although the court could enter a final judgment at an earlier date if a spouse demonstrates that injustice would result from the delay.
In the state of Florida, judicial circuit courts have jurisdiction over divorces in which at least one of the parties involved has lived in the state for at least six months. With regards to the Florida Panhandle area, Escambia County, Okaloosa County, Santa Rosa County, and Walton County are in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Bay County, Calhoun County, Gulf County, Holmes County, Jackson County, and Washington County are in the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.
After jurisdiction has been established, the next matter in a divorce proceeding is deciding which physical courthouse location the case will be filed and heard in. This is known as venue, and couples are not specifically required to file in a certain venue. In contested divorces, the proper venue is generally thought to be the circuit court of the last county where the couple last lived together as spouses.
However, if a couple last lived together in an area of Southern Florida like Monroe County or Miami-Dade County before each spouse relocated to the Florida Panhandle or even another state, they are not required to file for divorce in a county that is several hundreds of miles from their current residences. If two spouses live in different counties, they can choose the county that is most convenient for both parties even if neither lives there.
The spouse who files for divorce has the right to choose the venue. However, a spouse also reserves the right to object to a venue. The spouse seeking a different court location is required to file a motion for change of venue within 10 days of the action for dissolution of a marriage being filed.
Florida Statutes §§ 61.501-61.542 are known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This act gives Florida courts the authority to determine child custody and rule on other child-related matters if Florida is the child’s home state. A child does not necessarily need to have been born in Florida or still currently living in the state, but he or she must have live in the state for a period of six months prior to the filing of the petition.
For couple in which one spouse lives in Florida and the other spouse lives in another state, there can be multiple complicated jurisdictional issues that can arise. If your own divorce case involves any type of child custody issue, then you will want to be sure that you are represented by a skilled Florida divorce attorney.
Filing for divorce can be extremely stressful and complicated, but working with a knowledgeable attorney can make the process far easier. DeFuniak Springs family law attorneys Clayton Adkinson and Clay Adkinson will answer all of your questions and address every one of your concerns from the beginning of your divorce all the way to its conclusion.
Adkinson Law Firm, LLC helps residents of Escambia County, Okaloosa County, Bay County, Santa Rosa County, Walton County, Washington County, and Holmes County with divorce proceedings. Let our firm review your case by calling or submitting an online form right now to take advantage of a free legal consultation.