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

By Christine Funk, J.D.

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

By Christine Funk, J.D.

When you consider a divorce in the state of Florida, determining the correct county in which to file the divorce is one of the easiest decisions to make. In Florida, any county can hear your divorce case as long as you meet certain other requirements. However, choosing a county can also be complicated. You might have strategic reasons for choosing one county over another.

Man signing a petition for divorce

Requirements for a Florida Divorce

Florida has certain requirements for divorce. To file for divorce in any county in Florida, you must:

  1. Show proof of residency. In Florida, at least one of the parties must be a Florida resident for six months or more immediately prior to filing for divorce. Most people can easily establish their residency by showing their driver's license, if it bears an issue date six or more months prior to the time of filing.
  2. Establish that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."

Choices for Venue

By proving six months of residency, the parties establish that the state of Florida has jurisdiction over the court proceedings. Because Florida statute is silent on the issue of venue, you might want to consider multiple factors when choosing one.

  1. Consider your most recent and current addresses. Many couples file for divorce in the last county they lived in together. Some couples file in the county where one of them lives. Even if both parties live in the same county, another county's courthouse might be closer. It might be more convenient to file in the county of your workplace.
  2. Find out about required classes or seminars. When couples have children from the marriage, they must take a parenting class before the court grants a divorce. Many Florida counties offer this class online, so the parties can take the class separately and at their convenience. However, Duval County, for example, requires parents to take the class in person.
  3. Find out how quickly the county processes cases. Each divorce case moves through the process in accordance with county practice. It also moves at a pace as reflected by the court's availability. Some counties have more crowded dockets than other counties. As such, a divorce may process more quickly or more slowly, depending on the county in which you file divorce.

Objections to Venue

The non-filing spouse may file an objection to the county in which the filing spouse files for divorce. A proper objection is filed in writing with the court. The party opposed to the county of filing in has the burden of proving another county is more appropriate. Failing to object to venue waives the issue. There are times, however, when venue may be an issue. For example, if one spouse lives with the children in another state, the Florida courts may be reluctant to make parenting time and child support determinations. A court in Florida might leave these issues to the courts of the other state where the children reside.

If one of you has lived in Florida for at least the six months immediately prior to filing for divorce, you can file for divorce in any Florida county. Choosing a county involves evaluating your personal priorities.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.