Does Florida Require Separation Before Divorce?

Does Florida Require Separation Before Divorce?

Often, making the decision to file for divorce comes gradually–even though it is an extremely emotional and heavy decision. Part of this process usually involves you and your spouse separating, with the idea being that time apart can jumpstart the divorce process. Other times, the marriage has become so intolerable that separation and divorce is the only option. But some may be wondering if you have to be separated first in Florida in order for the divorce to be legal.

There is a mandatory separation period before a divorce can be finalized in many states, but Florida is not one of them.  There is no requirement that says you must have to first be separated before filing for a divorce. Still, many couples often separate first, acting as a sort of trial period that gives them time to determine if they want to reconcile or go forward with the divorce.

Experienced Tampa Divorce Attorneys Are Here To Support You

Whether a divorce is sudden or gradual, our experienced Florida divorce attorneys at Robert Sharp Attorneys can help make the process a little simpler. Through our years of experience, we have helped numerous clients navigate this emotional and complex process, making sure that their rights and interests are protected.

If you are considering filing for a divorce in the Tampa area, don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer free consultations and can help you determine the best path forward for your divorce.

Do You Have to Be Separated Before Divorce?

In Florida, there is no legal requirement for a separation period before filing for divorce. As a no-fault divorce state, couples in Florida can file for divorce as soon as one or both decide to end the marriage. Although Florida is ultimately a no-fault divorce state, you or your spouse will have to provide evidence to the court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. Essentially, this means nothing can be done to fix the relationship. In order to show that the marriage is broken beyond repair, you could provide the following evidence:

  • Evidence of adultery, making the continuation of marriage intolerable for you.
  • Physical or emotional abuse, making the marriage unsafe for you.
  • Abandonment by your spouse for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.
  • Living in separate households on a long-term and continuous basis.

Showing the marriage is broken is one hurdle to clear, but the only legal requirement for a divorce in Florida involves residency.

What Are the Residency Requirements in a Florida Divorce?

Under Florida law, either you or your spouse is required to have resided in the state for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. This requirement exists to make sure that Florida has proper jurisdiction over the divorce proceedings. In order to show that you or your spouse has met this requirement, you will need to provide the following:

  • A valid Florida-issued driver’s license
  • A Florida voter’s registration card
  • Eyewitness testimony from a third party

Those that wish to file for divorce but have not yet met the residency requirements also have options. First, they can file for divorce in the state where they do meet the residency requirements or they can try to have their spouse that does meet Florida’s residency requirements initiate the filing.

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Florida?

Every divorce is unique, so it’s difficult to assign a standard timeframe for how long a divorce takes in Florida. There are a number of different considerations that go into a divorce case, but the most important one in terms of time is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

  • Contested divorce – A contested divorce, as the name suggests, is one where you and your spouse don’t agree on one or multiple major issues that come up in a divorce. This includes things like asset division, child custody, alimony, and other forms of spousal support. Contested divorces, obviously, can take longer to settle and usually require court intervention.


  • Uncontested divorce – An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is one where you and your spouse agree on all the major issues in the divorce. Uncontested divorces still carry the weight of law, even though a lawyer and judge are typically not involved. They also resolve much more quickly, since both sides are in agreement.


Regardless of whether you have an uncontested or contested divorce, utilizing the experience and knowledge of our Tampa divorce attorneys can make the divorce process a bit easier on you. We can guide your decisions and represent you throughout the process to make sure your needs will be met to your satisfaction.

Work With Qualified Divorce Attorneys in Tampa

At Robert Sparks Attorneys, our team of experienced divorce attorneys takes pride in our ability to give comprehensive legal representation and guidance to clients in Tampa, Dade City, and throughout the state of Florida. We know how emotionally and mentally taxing a divorce can be, which is why we offer efficient and effective representation to make sure that the process is as painless as possible. If you are considering a divorce, or have already filed, you can meet with us for a free consultation to discuss your options. Contact us today to learn more.