What are the grounds for divorce in Florida?
To get a divorce in Florida, you must have one of the following grounds (reasons):
- the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning it can never be fixed; or
- one of the parties has been declared mentally incapacitated by a judge at least three years before filing for divorce.1
It is possible that the abuser can argue to the judge that the marriage is not irretrievably broken and ask the judge to order counseling or mediation before granting a divorce. If this were to happen, you could inform the judge about the domestic violence and point out to the court that the divorce is in everyone’s best interests. More often, mediation could be ordered to resolve issues of the divorce, not for reconciling the marriage. At that point, if you raise the issue of domestic violence, the judge could take steps to keep you safe - for example, making sure the mediator is aware of the violence, putting you and the abuser in separate rooms, etc. Alternatively, the judge could agree that mediation is not appropriate in the situation.
1 Fla. Stat. § 61.052