Tampa Divorce Lawyer

Is My Marriage Irretrievably Broken?

In some states, including Florida, one party does not have to the sole cause of a failed marriage.

Traditionally, American divorce was based on the idea of fault, which required one spouse alleging that the other spouse did something that ultimately caused the marriage to fail. In 1970, California did away with fault-based divorce, opting for a no-fault divorce model instead. Plenty of states, including Florida in 1971, have opted for a no-fault divorce model in the years since.

Since Florida does not rely on fault as a basis for divorce, it instead requires that the marriage be “irretrievably broken” or that one of the parties has been mentally incapacitated for three years. Section 61.052 of the 2016 Florida Statutes clearly outlines these two grounds for a legal divorce.

When Is a Florida Marriage Irretrievably Broken?

Since the irretrievably broken standard will be the one used in the vast majority of Florida divorces, it is important to understand how Florida courts view the term “irretrievably broken”.

Florida courts have made it clear that claiming this standard requires the court to conclude that:

  • The marriage relationships have, for all intents and purposes, ended
  • The marriage relationships are no longer viable
  • The marriage relationships are “a hollow sham” and are beyond hope of reconciliation or repair

These standards were set forth in the 1973 case of Ryan v. Ryan, shortly after Florida had moved to a no-fault model in 1971.

It is important to note, however, that the irretrievably broken standard does not require both parties to agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Instead, the court can conclude the marriage is irretrievably broken so long as one party files for divorce and the standards set forth in Ryan are met.

For a Florida court to make this determination, however, it must be presented with factual evidence that justifies an irretrievably broken finding. This is not to say that the burden of evidence is particularly high. Ordinarily, a party can simply make a statement indicating they no longer love their spouse and do not wish to remain married any longer.

In addition to these kinds of statements, additional evidence may be used to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken, such as:

  • Physical and/or Mental Abuse
  • Years of Permanent Separation
  • A Party Has Been Convicted of a Crime and Will Be Sent to Prison
  • Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse
  • And More

In short, whether you no longer love your spouse or some other factor has led to the marriage being broken beyond repair, a Florida court will almost certainly find that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Once the court arrives at such a finding, they will have the legal authority to grant a divorce.

If you have questions regarding military divorce, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]