How to Determine What County You Need to File for Divorce in Florida

By Beverly Bird

Having too many options can sometimes complicate matters and this is particularly true when you're trying to determine in which Florida county you should file for divorce. Under Florida law, you can file in any county you like, but your spouse must consent. There are some practical considerations to keep in mind and some Florida counties are slightly more divorce-friendly than others.

Having too many options can sometimes complicate matters and this is particularly true when you're trying to determine in which Florida county you should file for divorce. Under Florida law, you can file in any county you like, but your spouse must consent. There are some practical considerations to keep in mind and some Florida counties are slightly more divorce-friendly than others.

County Venue

States have jurisdiction over spouses and counties have venue, meaning judges in that county are the only ones who can rule on your divorce. Florida's Rules of Civil Procedure are silent regarding venue -- they don't state specifically where you have to file. Technically, you should file in the county where you and your spouse lived when you decided to end your marriage, but you can opt not to. For example, you and your spouse may have last lived together in Florida's Panhandle region, but you relocated to Miami-Dade County when you broke up. If the court overseeing your divorce is hundreds of miles from your new home, that could be problematic. Thus, you have the option of filing in Miami-Dade County instead, or any other county.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Objections to Venue

If you're the spouse who files for divorce, you have the right to choose the county of venue. After you file, your divorce will proceed in that county, unless your spouse objects. He must file a motion with the court to do this, arguing a different county court should preside over your divorce. Alternatively, he can answer your divorce petition and object to your choice of venue in his answer. He's got the burden of proof to convince a judge that your divorce proceedings should move to a different county. If your spouse does nothing, the law assumes he's waived his right to object.

Other Considerations

When you choose a county for divorce, convenience is obviously a factor. You wouldn't want to drive countless miles every time you have to appear at the courthouse. But other considerations exist as well. For example, if you have children, Florida requires you to attend a parenting class before the court will grant your divorce. You can do this online in most Florida counties, simplifying the requirement. However, in Duval County, you have to attend the class in person. If you live in Duval County, you might want to file for divorce in a neighboring county to take advantage of the online program.

State Residency Requirements

Regardless of what county you choose, the state of Florida must also have jurisdiction over your divorce. Florida acquires jurisdiction after either you or your spouse have lived there for six months. It doesn't matter if you were married elsewhere and one of you moved to Florida after you broke up. If one spouse stays behind in another state and the other spouse establishes a six-month residency in Florida, you can file for divorce there. In this case, you obviously wouldn't file in the county where you last lived together because it's not in the state.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How to Block a Motion to Transfer a Divorce Proceeding in Minnesota

References

Related articles

Divorce & Jurisdiction

State laws vary when it comes to obtaining a divorce, so it may be tempting to file for divorce in the state with the procedures most friendly to your case. But a court must have proper jurisdiction to address the cases before it, so not every court has authority to grant you a divorce and rule on the issues involved. Generally, you must file in the state where you or your spouse meets residency requirements.

Got Married in New Jersey: Where Do We Divorce?

Spouses often decide to relocate to get a fresh start once a marriage starts to deteriorate. When it comes time to divorce, the most convenient option might be to file in your current state of residence. Knowing what the state residency requirements are, and what other options exist outside the state, will help you determine the most appropriate location to initiate your divorce.

Is a Court Appearance Necessary for a Divorce Online in North Carolina?

As long as you live separately from your spouse for a year and are a resident of North Carolina for six months prior to the filing a divorce action, you can obtain an absolute divorce in the state. During your separation period, you generally work out the terms of your divorce, including property division, custody and support with your spouse. If you cannot reach an agreement regarding these terms, you will have to go to trial. However, if you and your spouse do reach an agreement, once the 12-month separation period ends, you can file for your absolute divorce online or use a legal online document provider to prepare and file your paperwork. Whether or not you have to appear in court for a hearing depends on the county in which you file.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Jurisdiction Issues in a Texas Divorce

Texas requires anyone who files for divorce in the state to meet both state and county residency requirements. Since ...

Where Can you File for a Divorce When Your Spouse Resides in Another State?

In most divorces, the separating couple will remain in the same state -- probably even the same county or town. Filing ...

How to File a Petition to Have Divorce Moved to Another County in Florida

Spouses may be eager to relocate from the marital home after deciding to divorce. However, couples in Florida are ...

Residency Rules for Filing for Divorce in Ohio

Most states do not allow you to move into their jurisdiction, unpack your bags and immediately file for divorce. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED