It used to be a requirement in most states that there be grounds for a divorce, such as abandonment, adultery, cruel and unusual treatment, etc. This is no longer true for most states. In Florida, one need only allege that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” — meaning that the marriage cannot be fixed. As a practical matter, you can’t challenge whether or not divorce will take place in Florida because a judge would be hard-pressed to say that a marriage is not irretrievably broken when one of the parties believes it to be so. Florida Statute 61.052 allows:
a) If there is no minor child of the marriage and if the responding party does not, by answer to the petition for dissolution, deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of the marriage if the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
b) When there is a minor child of the marriage, or when the responding party denies by answer to the petition for dissolution that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court may:
Order either or both parties to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi, or any other person deemed qualified by the court and acceptable to the party or parties ordered to seek consultation; or
Continue the proceedings for a reasonable length of time not to exceed three months, to enable the parties themselves to effort a reconciliation; or
Take such other action as may be in the best interests of the parties and the minor child of the marriage.
Valerie Kanouse Balsama practices family law in Boca Raton with Valerie G. Kanouse, P.A. Dedicated to the peaceful resolution of marital problems, she has been advocating amicable divorces since the late ’80s. She is a past recipient of the Florida Bar Family Law Section Award and the National Outstanding Woman Alumni Award from the University of Notre Dame Law School.