Divorce, while simple in writing, can quickly become a complicated legal process. The complication arises because each state has different laws governing divorce, and no situation is the same as another. Thus, it falls to the states to regulate the divorce process and an attorney familiar with that state’s law to interpret it. Understanding the details of an individual state’s divorce process is critical. To successfully file a divorce, one must be familiar with determining elements such as the residency requirement, waiting periods, and the process of splitting assets.
What is a Residency Requirement?
There is a residency requirement for divorce one must fulfill before beginning the dissolution of marriage process. The vast majority of states in the US require some form of residency before an individual may file for divorce. The amount varies significantly between states. Some require an individual to wait a year before filing for divorce. In others, the individual need only wait around 90 days.
In context, residency means an individual resides in or has a domicile in the state. A resident is simply an individual present within Florida. To be considered domiciled, an individual must have a fixed permanent home. A permanent domicile is an important distinction since it’s the difference between formally moving from one state to another and staying for a set period. In the state of Florida, the individual must only meet the residency standard and does not need to maintain a permanent home.
How to Prove Residency in a Florida Divorce
To establish residency in Florida, an individual must reside in the state for up to six months, which is the 183-day rule. The state determines residency and whether the individual has a domicile in the state by checking with the local clerk’s office for sworn statements attesting to the fact that the individual is a resident.
This statement must include several details, but the most relevant is a statement confirming the individual’s wishes to be considered an official citizen of the state. This requirement does not preclude other evidence from being submitted, such as a deed for a home. Still, it is strong evidence supporting a citizenship claim.
How Long Do You Have to Live in Florida to Divorce?
Per the 183-day rule, an individual must reside in Florida for up to 6 months to meet the residency requirement. Once the individual satisfies the residency requirement, they may file the petition for dissolution of marriage, essentially the first step in filing for divorce by putting the petition in front of the court.
The state’s interest in ensuring a trial’s speediness and the caseload does not overwhelm the court system. By placing a residency limit, the state ensures that the courts have the freedom the reject out-of-state individuals from using Florida’s court without at least a minimal connection to the state. If an individual has not met the residency requirement, they cannot dissolve the marriage.
The residency requirement ultimately ensures that the court’s resources will benefit the state’s residents, even those who only seek to fulfill the residency requirement. A resident, while they may not have a permanent home in the state, still resides in the area long enough to ensure that they are an established connection to the state.
What are the requirements to file for divorce in Florida?
An individual must reside, meaning they must be in the state, for six (6) months. While they do not need to have a permanent home in the state to meet the residency requirement, they must remain in the state for six months. Once the six months have elapsed, they may then begin the process of filing for divorce. This waiting period is the 183-day rule and accounts for the period before the individual filing for divorce.
How does an individual prove they are a resident of Florida?
Individuals may prove they are a resident by submitting an affidavit to the courts. This legally binding document is evidence of the individual’s intent to remain in the state. The individual must file this affidavit with the local clerk’s office, which will keep the claim on file. The courts may then request this affidavit to ensure the individuals’ intentions. The court may also seek additional witness statements or other materials such as mail that the individual can use to establish residency. A permanent home is not required to establish residency as Florida does not need an individual to own a domicile, a permanent home, in the state.
Does the location of an individual’s partner affect their ability to file for divorce?
No, the location of the individual’s significant other has no bearing on their ability to file for divorce regarding state law. However, if the spouse lives outside of the state, it may create issues when attempting to serve the spouse with divorce papers. In such cases, one might need to hire a legal servicer or neutral third-party to serve the papers.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one are involved in a Florida divorce, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.