Does the State of Florida Recognize "Abandonment" as a Reason for Divorce?

By Beverly Bird

All states recognize no-fault divorce, but many states also allow spouses to file on fault grounds such as abandonment. This isn't the case in Florida. Even if your spouse leaves or abandons you with the intention of ending the marriage, you can only file for divorce by telling the court in your petition for dissolution that your marriage just isn't working out anymore. However, you may be able to bring the fact of your spouse's abandonment to the attention of the court in other ways.

Florida Divorce Grounds

Florida is a "pure" no-fault state – it recognizes only two divorce grounds and neither have anything to do with marital misconduct. You can file for irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or mental incapacity on the part of your spouse. The latter isn't technically a fault ground because if someone suffers from mental illness, it's not misconduct or something he's voluntarily chosen. The requirements for filing on grounds of mental incapacity are somewhat stiff in Florida. Your spouse must have a legitimately diagnosed condition that's lasted for three years or more. Therefore, as a practical matter, Florida has only one divorce ground: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which means that your marriage has failed and there's no hope of saving it.

Simplified Divorce

If your spouse has abandoned you, this is usually a pretty clear indication that he wants to end the marriage and that he won't fight the divorce. If you agree that your marriage is broken and if you can negotiate a settlement resolving all issues of property and debt division, you can be divorced relatively quickly in Florida in some cases. The state offers a simplified divorce option, but it requires some level of cooperation between you and your spouse, and you must meet other requirements as well. You can't have any dependent children under the age of 18, you must waive the right to alimony or spousal support, and you must appear in court together when the judge grants your divorce.

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

Dissolution of Marriage

If you and your spouse can't agree on how to end your marriage, or if you have minor children or otherwise fail to meet the requirements for a simplified Florida divorce, you'll have to proceed with a regular dissolution. You can continue trying to reach a settlement during the proceedings, and if you do, you'll receive an uncontested divorce. Otherwise, you'd have to go to trial so the court can decide issues for you. Regular dissolution gives you and your spouse the right to request financial and other documentation from each other through a process called discovery, so you're both sure of the nature of your debts and assets. If your spouse left you and has remained gone for a considerable period of time so you have no idea what's been happening with his finances, this might be to your advantage. You can consult with an attorney for some guidance as to which option is best for you if you’re eligible for a simplified divorce.

Alimony and Property Distribution

If you have to go to trial so a judge can resolve issues of your marriage, you can present evidence of your spouse's abandonment in this context. Although Florida is a pure no-fault state, it allows you to introduce marital fault at trial if it affects issues of property division, alimony or parental responsibility. Typically, you'd have to prove that your spouse's abandonment negatively affected the economics of your marriage, or that he left your children as well as you, so he should not have custody.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Fault Vs. Non-fault Divorce
 

References

Related articles

Divorce Based on Adultery in Illinois

If your spouse has strayed, you might have good reasons for wanting to file for divorce on grounds of adultery -- but doing so might not result in more than some personal satisfaction. Illinois recognizes adultery as divorce grounds, but you could probably end your marriage much more quickly and economically if you filed on the state's no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences instead.

Michigan No-Fault Divorce Law

Michigan is a true no-fault divorce state; you cannot receive a divorce on any other grounds. There aren't any fault options available. This makes filing for divorce relatively simple and contesting the divorce, itself, virtually impossible. However, in some cases, the court can still address a spouse's misconduct.

Contested Divorces in Georgia

Even if you and your spouse agree that your marriage is over, the courts still consider your divorce contested if you don’t also agree on how to end it. All states, including Georgia, have a different set of legal requirements when this occurs. Instead of moving directly from Point A to Point B and expeditiously wrapping up your marriage, there are a few more steps you must take before you receive a divorce.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to File for Divorce in New Jersey

In 2007, the New Jersey legislature took steps to simplify the divorce process, but the state still has a slate of ...

Ohio Divorce and Abandonment Laws

Ohio law allows you to end your marriage by either divorce or dissolution. Dissolution generally involves an amicable ...

Divorce Process in Florida

Like some other states, Florida has decided that "divorce" is a dirty word. When you end your marriage in the state, ...

How Long Can a Divorce Be Postponed in Indiana?

For all practical purposes, Indiana is a no-fault state. Its statutes don't include the typical fault grounds of ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED