Work With Our Divorce Attorneys, Call 561-844-1200 Fax 561-844-1225

No-Fault Divorce

Florida No-Fault Divorce

Florida is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that either party may seek a divorce without proving any reason for it other than the spouses don’t want to be married anymore. The spouse seeking a divorce simply needs to state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This rule relieves the court of the complicated duty of deciding who is at fault, and the parties to the marriage are spared having to talk about painful personal issues in court. However, a judge can consider who is to blame when deciding the details of the divorce, such as whether one spouse will receive alimony, how the property and debts will be divided, and who will get custody of the children.

Below is a list of commonly asked questions that our West Palm Beach Family Law Attorneys receive about no-fault divorces in Florida. Clicking each question listed below will provide you with a detailed answer

A no fault divorce is one which neither spouse has to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse. To receive a no fault divorce in Florida one spouse must simply state the reason is “irretrievably broken better known “irreconcilable differences”.

The most common basis for seeking a divorce in Florida is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In order to claim this as the grounds for the divorce, the court must reach the conclusion that “for whatever reason or cause the marriage relationships for all intents and purposes ended, no longer viable, a hollow sham beyond hope of reconciliation or repair” Ryan v. Ryan, 277 So.2d 266,271. In Palm Beach County dissolution of marriage cases, a spouse need only answer “yes” to the question “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” No detail or explanation is required.

Florida divorce law does not require both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is the court’s decision that if one party has made the decision to end the marriage it may be said that the relationship is broken.

Although Florida does not require proof of “fault,” the judge still must be presented with factual evidence that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A simple agreement by the parties advocating that the marriage is over is inadequate. However, in most cases the court will not require a detailed investigation, and a statement from one party saying “I don’t love him/her anymore and don’t want to stay married” is enough. There are other facts which help to support the claim of a broken marriage including: mental and/or physical abuse, basic unsuitability, or years of permanent separation.

The purpose of the No-Fault divorce law in Florida is to encourage both parties to dissolve the marriage without becoming adversaries and to encourage reconciliation by decreasing the need of reciprocated accusations.The State of Florida, and all 49 other States for that matter, have found the no-fault policy to provide the best means for handling a dissolution of marriage.

The most common grounds for seeking a no fault divorce in Florida is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In order to claim this as the grounds for the divorce, the court must reach the conclusion that “for whatever reason or cause the marriage relationships for all intents and purposes ended, no longer viable, a hollow sham beyond hope of reconciliation or repair” Ryan v. Ryan, 277 So.2d 266,271

Florida divorce law does not require both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is the court’s decision that if one party has made the decision to end the marriage it may be said that the relationship is broken.

Although Florida does not require proof of “fault,” the judge still must be presented with factual evidence that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A simple agreement by the parties advocating that the marriage is over is inadequate. However, in most cases the court will not require a detailed investigation, and a statement from one party saying “I don’t love him/her anymore and don’t want to stay married” is enough. There are other facts which help to support the claim of a broken marriage including: mental and/or physical abuse, basic unsuitability, or years of permanent separation. In Palm Beach County dissolution of marriage cases, a spouse need only answer “yes” to the question “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” No detail or explanation is required.

  • How long have you practiced family law?
  • Have you ever been disciplined by the Bar?
  • What is the best case scenario for my case? The worst case scenario?
  • What can I do to improve my chances of winning?
  • What are my case’s most significant strengths and weaknesses?
  • How long will it take to litigate my case?
  • How much will it cost to litigate my case?
  • How frequently will you give me updates?
  • What information do you need from me? Are their specific documents or other pieces of evidence that can improve my case’s outcome?
  • Can I talk to references?
  • Will anyone else, such as an associate or paralegal, work on my case?
  • Who will be my primary point of contact?

You deserve a lawyer who respects you and your values and who will represent your interests. Don’t waste your time and money on someone who is sub-par. By doing a little research on the front end, you can save yourself lots of misery down the road.

No. A no-fault divorce cannot be contested in Florida. The party seeking the divorce only has to state that the marriage irretrievably broken. In most cases the court will not require a detailed investigation, and a statement from one party saying “I don’t love him/her anymore and don’t want to stay married” is enough. There are other facts which help to support the claim of a broken marriage including: mental and/or physical abuse, basic unsuitability, or years of permanent separation. In Palm Beach County dissolution of marriage cases, a spouse need only answer “yes” to the question “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” No detail or explanation is required.

However, the judge can take evidence of wrongdoing when deciding other details in the divorce such as division of assets and liabilities, child custody and alimony.

Marital Misconduct and Alimony

Florida is one of the states in which marital misconduct may have an effect on the amount of spousal support a spouse receives or has to pay.

Marital misconduct may be brought to the judge’s attention either in the beginning (in the petition for the dissolution of the marriage) or as a claim to alimony and awarding of property. When within the petition for dissolution of marriage, the marital misconduct needs to be included in the paragraph stating the marriage is irretrievably broken.

After professional and ethical consideration, and assuming there is admissible evidence to support the claim, the accused spouse should be notified.

Under F.S. 61.08, the only “fault” explicitly mentioned as a component for determining alimony is adultery in a no-fault divorce. However, adultery is not the primary deciding factor and offers no guarantees. The statute rather allows the court to use discretion when considering adultery and establishing whether a monetary award should be granted and the amount of said award.

Alimony cannot be awarded or withheld simply on the basis of punishing an adulterous spouse. The Florida Supreme Court ruled “the primary standards used in fashioning an equitable alimony award are the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other to pay” Noah v. Noah, 491 So.2d 1124, 1127 (Fla. 1986). In order for adultery to be considered, the misconduct must have lead to depletion of marital property. The unfaithfulness of either spouse does not take precedence over financial need and ability to pay.

In Florida requirements for no-fault divorce are as follows.  Florida law does not require both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is the court’s decision that if one party has made the decision to end the marriage it may be said that the relationship is broken.

Although Florida does not require proof of “fault,” the judge still must be presented with factual evidence that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A simple agreement by the parties advocating that the marriage is over is inadequate. However, in most cases the court will not require a detailed investigation, and a statement from one party saying “I don’t love him/her anymore and don’t want to stay married” is enough. There are other facts which help to support the claim of a broken marriage including: mental and/or physical abuse, basic unsuitability, or years of permanent separation. In Palm Beach County dissolution of marriage cases, a spouse need only answer “yes” to the question “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” No detail or explanation is required.

Physical abuse such as domestic violence is treated in a similar manner as adultery when it comes to alimony in a no-fault divorce. Alimony is not granted or denied on the basis of punishing one party for an act of physical abuse. However, physical abuse can have an impact on the amount of alimony awarded. The party who physically abuses his/her spouse should be required to pay any medical bills resulting from said abuse, as well as provide assistance during the abused spouse’s recovery time.

Currently under Florida Marital Law, there are two grounds which allow a person to a judgment of dissolution of marriage. The first being the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” and the second being that one of the parties has been “adjudged mentally incapacitated for at least three years” F.S. 61.052.

In Florida Family Law, marriage is not classified as the private doings of two persons, but rather is formally observed by the state. Therefore, a marriage must be filed with the state in order to be considered official. It is the court’s opinion that dissolution of marriage is also a statutory cause of action. Therefore, it is the court’s job to determine the conditions upon which the divorce will be authorized. The right to a dissolution of marriage and all privileges and burdens in connection with it are regulated by F.S. Chapter 61, “Dissolution of Marriage.” See F.S. Chapter 61, “Dissolution of Marriage.”

In Florida Family Law, marriage is not classified as the private doings of two persons, but rather is formally observed by the state. Therefore, a marriage must be filed with the state in order to be considered official. It is the court’s opinion that dissolution of marriage is also a statutory cause of action. Therefore, it is the court’s job to determine the conditions upon which the divorce will be authorized. The right to a dissolution of marriage and all privileges and burdens in connection with it are regulated by F.S. Chapter 61, “Dissolution of Marriage.” See F.S. Chapter 61, “Dissolution of Marriage.”

Because Florida is a no-fault state, marital misconduct can be a little bit of a tricky issue.

However, there are exceptions and even though Florida is a no-fault divorce state, it doesn’t mean that you won’t have to answer in some way for any misbehavior during the marriage.

Some broad definitions of Marital Misconduct are:

  • Alcoholism or addiction,
  • Adultery
  • Domestic violence
  • Physical or mental abusive behavior
  • Economic misconduct

The judge can take evidence of marital misconduct when deciding:

  • Division of assets and liabilities,
  • Child custody
  • Alimony/Spousal Support

Once there is proof that some degree of marital misconduct has occurred the judge will further look at these when giving weight:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The character of the misconduct
  • The time period during the marriage when the misconduct occurred
  • If  the misconduct was continual or what was the frequency of it

Marital Misconduct and Division of Property

In the case of division of assets and liabilities economic fault (economic misconduct) , adultery or an addiction all can directly influence division of the couple’s property. However, domestic violence might not be considered relevant or appropriate consideration.

Economic misconduct occurs when one spouse intentionally uses marital funds for his or her benefit for a reason unconnected to the marriage. If this is the case, the misconduct may be considered by the court and lead to an unequal division of marital assets. The marital misconduct must have occurred in the 2 years prior to  filing for divorce.

Here are some examples of ‘Economic Misconduct’

  • Intentionally dissipates marital assets“intentional dissipation
  • Destroys martial assets
  • Hides or conceals marital assets
  • Wastes or depletes money due to over-spending
  • Selling property under fraudulent terms
  • Using assets in an affair with another person during the marriage
  • Using assets to buy drugs in the case of drug addiction

Normal day to day expenditures, unintentional loss on investments, and other substantial expenditures would not be considered in deciding Economic Misconduct.

Marital Misconduct and Alimony

In addition to having a possible effect on the division of property, marital misconduct may also have an effect on alimony or the amount of spousal support a spouse receives or has to pay.

Marital misconduct may be brought to the judge’s attention either in the beginning (in the petition for the dissolution of the marriage) or as a claim to alimony and awarding of property. When within the petition for dissolution of marriage, the marital misconduct needs to be included in the paragraph stating the marriage is irretrievably broken.

After professional and ethical consideration, and assuming there is admissible evidence to support the claim, the accused spouse should be notified.

Florida law provides that marital misconduct is not considered as a factor in division of assets or equitable distribution. However, even though Florida is a no-fault divorce state, it doesn’t mean that you or your spouse won’t have to answer in some way for any marital misconduct during the marriage.  One example is if the judge determines that ‘Economic Misconduct’ has occurred in the 2-years prior to filing for divorce.

What is Economic Misconduct?

Economic misconduct occurs when one spouse intentionally uses marital funds for his or her benefit for a reason unconnected to the marriage. If this is the case, the misconduct may be considered by the court and lead to an unequal division of marital assets. The marital misconduct must have occured in the 2 years prior to  filing for divorce.

Here are some examples of ‘Economic Misconduct’

  • Intentionally dissipates marital assets“intentional dissipation
  • Destroys martial assets
  • Hides or conceals marital assets
  • Wastes or depletes money due to over-spending
  • Selling property under fraudulent terms
  • Using assets in an affair with another person during the marriage
  • Using assets to buy drugs in the case of drug addiction

Normal day to day expenditures, unintentional loss on investments, and other substantial expenditures would not be considered in deciding Economic Misconduct.

Physical abuse such as domestic violence is treated in a similar manner as adultery when it comes to alimony in a no-fault divorce. Alimony is not granted or denied on the basis of punishing one party for an act of physical abuse. However, physical abuse can have an impact on the amount of alimony awarded. The party who physically abuses his/her spouse should be required to pay any medical bills resulting from said abuse, as well as provide assistance during the abused spouse’s recovery time.

Florida is one of the states in which marital misconduct may have an effect on the amount of spousal support a spouse receives or has to pay.

Marital misconduct may be brought to the judge’s attention either in the beginning (in the petition for the dissolution of the marriage) or as a claim to alimony and awarding of property. When within the petition for dissolution of marriage, the marital misconduct needs to be included in the paragraph stating the marriage is irretrievably broken.

After professional and ethical consideration, and assuming there is admissible evidence to support the claim, the accused spouse should be notified.

Under F.S. 61.08, the only “fault” explicitly mentioned as a component for determining alimony is adultery in a no-fault divorce. However, adultery is not the primary deciding factor and offers no guarantees. The statute rather allows the court to use discretion when considering adultery and establishing whether a monetary award should be granted and the amount of said award.

Alimony cannot be awarded or withheld simply on the basis of punishing an adulterous spouse. The Florida Supreme Court ruled “the primary standards used in fashioning an equitable alimony award are the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other to pay” Noah v. Noah, 491 So.2d 1124, 1127 (Fla. 1986). In order for adultery to be considered, the misconduct must have lead to depletion of marital property. The unfaithfulness of either spouse does not take precedence over financial need and ability to pay.

Sexual relations by the parties taking place throughout the dissolution proceedings is not alone grounds to deny the dissolution. However, some judges in Palm Beach County divorce cases will unilaterally dismiss a divorce case if the parties have become intimate during the proceedings. There are some defenses to a dissolution left open from F.S. 61.044 including: the parties are not married, the marriage is not broken, the party alleged to be mentally incapacitated is not so or has not been incapacitated for at least three years, or the court lacks jurisdiction to grant a dissolution.

Under F.S. 61.052, mental incapacity of a spouse is the only other basis for divorce. In order to qualify as “mentally incapacitated,” a person must meet the criteria stated in F.S. 744.331 for a minimum of three years. If these conditions are met, mental incapacity must be the basis for the divorce. In order to maintain due process of the law, F.S. 61.052 illustrates strict provisions described below.

“Notice of the proceeding for dissolution shall be served upon one of the nearest blood relatives or guardian of the incapacitated person, and the relative or guardian shall be entitled to appear and to be heard upon the issues.”

“If the incapacitated party has a general guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the petition and summons shall be served upon the incapacitated party and the guardian; and the guardian shall defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party.”

“If the incapacitated party has no guardian other than the party bringing the proceeding, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to defend and protect the interests of the incapacitated party.”

” In all Dissolutions of marriage granted on the basis of incapacity, the court may require the petitioner to pay alimony pursuant to the provisions of s. 61.08.”

If there is adequate evidence supporting the need for a divorce, the guardian may begin dissolution proceedings on behalf of the incapacitated.

There are circumstances in which the judge may order both parties to attend marriage counseling classes. Most often, it is a result of one party denying that the marriage is broken or when there are minor children involved. It is not mandatory for the court to require counseling classes when the marriage meets these conditions. Many judges will not require counseling if one party is adamantly against it, for if they do not approach the classes with the right attitude, its efforts could be useless. In the case of having minor children, the judge may order counseling with the purpose of informing the parents on how to make the process less damaging to the children. In Palm Beach County practice, orders requiring parents to a counseling session are rare.

The most common basis for seeking a divorce in Florida is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In order to claim this as the grounds for the divorce, the court must reach the conclusion that “for whatever reason or cause the marriage relationships for all intents and purposes ended, no longer viable, a hollow sham beyond hope of reconciliation or repair” Ryan v. Ryan, 277 So.2d 266,271

Florida divorce law does not require both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is the court’s decision that if one party has made the decision to end the marriage it may be said that the relationship is broken.

Although Florida does not require proof of “fault,” the judge still must be presented with factual evidence that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” A simple agreement by the parties advocating that the marriage is over is inadequate. However, in most cases the court will not require a detailed investigation, and a statement from one party saying “I don’t love him/her anymore and don’t want to stay married” is enough. There are other facts which help to support the claim of a broken marriage including: mental and/or physical abuse, basic unsuitability, or years of permanent separation. In Palm Beach County dissolution of marriage cases, a spouse need only answer “yes” to the question “Is your marriage irretrievably broken?” No detail or explanation is required.

No. Florida is strictly a no-fault divorce state. This means neither spouse has to prove wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse when either is petitioning for a divorce.The purpose is to encourage both parties to dissolve the marriage without becoming adversaries and to encourage reconciliation by decreasing the need of reciprocated accusations.

Prior to 1971, there were only nine legitimate arguments for the dissolution of marriage. In 1971, the legislature passed the Dissolution of Marriage law, which repealed this statute and stated that “fault need not be proved to entitle a spouse to the dissolution of marriage.”

Why the transition to a no-fault policy? The State of Florida, and all 49 other States for that matter, have found the no-fault policy to provide the best means for handling a dissolution of marriage.

Ask Us A Question

Work with our divorce attorneys to help you explore all of your options, explain any ramifications of your decisions and reach a conclusion that is in the best interest of you and your family.

Main Office

The Law Offices of Nugent Zborowski

Palm Beach Divorce Lawyers

631 US-1, Suite 402,
North Palm Beach, FL 33408

Phone: (561) 844-1200

Location and Hours
View All Locations

Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm M-F