When a person wants to file for divorce here in Florida, they will find that there are actually very few potential roadblocks in their way, such that the process of ending their marriage can at least be initiated rather smoothly.
Specifically, Florida, which is a no-fault divorce state, requires a person to meet three conditions in order to dissolve their marriage: they must prove the existence of a marriage, they must prove the marriage is "irretrievably broken," and they must have been a resident of the Sunshine State for the six months preceding the filing of the petition.
Despite the relative ease with which these three elements can be satisfied, critics have argued that the law nevertheless fails to account for those situations in which spouses are trying to escape physically or emotionally abusive spouses.
Specifically, they point to scenarios in which a battered spouse may move to Florida with their children in tow to escape an otherwise violent marriage. However, given that they would have to wait at least six months before filing for divorce, something that would give them much-needed access to things like alimony and child support, they could conceivably be forced to rely on very limited funds in the meantime.
In recognition of how nightmarish these situations could prove to be and how spouses can essentially be held hostage by the law, Rep. Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) has introduced a bill that would create an exception to the six-month requirement for those spouses looking to escape physically or emotionally abusive marriages.
While it's unclear what evidence would need to be submitted to prove an abuse marriage exists and Beshears has yet to find a Senate sponsor, it's nevertheless encouraging to see this important issue being acknowledged by state lawmakers.
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