Sarasota Florida Divorce Lawyers

Filing for divorce is not an easy decision. You may be wondering if it is in your family’s best interest and what the potential long-term effects will be. Contact us for a consultation to see what your options are in filing for divorce. Read on to learn more about Florida divorce laws.

Grounds for Divorce & Jurisdiction

To file for divorce in Florida, a spouse must have lived in the state six months before filing. A spouse may file for divorce in the county in which he/she resides. The petitioner must declare the appropriate grounds for filing divorce. Grounds for filing divorce in Florida include the following:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken
  • Mental incapacity of one spouse

Because Florida is a no-fault state, a petitioner must use one of the two grounds above to file for divorce.

Florida Property Division Laws

Florida is an equitable distribution state. In accordance with equitable distribution property laws, marital property is divided equally between the spouses upon divorce. Marital property may consist of personal and real property, bank accounts, stock options, business interests, and retirement accounts acquired during the marriage with marital funds or labor. Nonmarital property refers to property acquired before marriage by each spouse. In addition to assets, debts are also divided between the spouses. This includes debts such as a mortgage, student loan, credit card debt, car loans, and owed income taxes. Nonmarital property will not be divided among the spouses upon divorce. In certain circumstances, the court may allow for the unequal distribution of marital property so long as it is equitable.

Sarasota Child Custody & Support Lawyers

In Florida, both parents are usually granted “time-sharing” with their child. The court will order a time-sharing schedule that is in the best interest of the child. The schedule will define which parent receives “majority time-sharing” or “equal time-sharing.” The court considers several factors when determining a time-share arrangement.

In regards to child support, Florida law requires both parents to provide support for their children. Child support is implemented to ensure the child’s basic needs are met. Support includes food, clothing, housing, and medical care. The court uses a formula to establish support. The formula takes into account the net income of both parents, expenses related to health care premiums, daycare costs, and the amount of time each child has with the parent.

Child custody and support orders can be modified if a parent can show there has been a material unanticipated substantial change in circumstances from the date the initial time-sharing plan was ordered. The modification must be in the child’s best interest.


Alimony refers to support one spouse pays to the other for support during and after the divorce process. The higher earning spouse is usually required to pay alimony. Alimony is paid to the spouse in need of support so that he/she can maintain the same marital standard of living during and after the divorce. There are several different types of alimony (example – temporary or permanent) in Florida. A spouse may elect to receive periodic payments or a single lump-sum payment. The court will consider several factors in deciding to award alimony. For example, the court will take into consideration the length of the marriage, all sources of income for each spouse, and the marital standard of living.

Contact our Sarasota Florida divorce lawyers for more information about Florida divorce laws. We can review your marital history and provide you with legal guidance on how to proceed with your divorce.

Sarasota County Florida Attorney Meg Lyons proudly serves the greater Orlando, Miami and Sarasota metropolitan areas. This includes Orlando, Clermont, DeLand, St. Cloud, Buenaventura Lakes, Sanford, Oviedo, Lakeland, Longwood, Casselberry, Lake Mary, Apopka, Winter Springs, Altamonte Springs, Daytona Beach, South Daytona, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Ormond Beach, Bartow, Kissimmee, Titusville, Tavares, Volusia, Sarasota, North Port, Venice, Miami, South Beach, Hialeah, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens and North Miami, Florida.