Divorce Jurisdiction

Quick Summary

Jurisdiction, in general terms, means the power of the court to hear a certain controversy, like a divorce proceeding. If the court does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter or the parties, any final judgment entered can be void or voidable causing any awards to be unenforceable. The Circuit Court in Florida has jurisdiction to act in a divorce case. If one of the parties has been a resident of Florida for six months prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. However, the court cannot act if it does not have what is referred to as personal jurisdiction over respondent. It is the respondents connection to Florida that dictates whether the court can do anything. If the party wants more than a dissolution of marriage (divorce) a Florida court's jurisdiction to make a binding order they determine whether a party can obtain relief beyond just the granting of the divorce. When children are involved, jurisdiction is governed by the uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. (UCCJEA).

Residence Requirement

One of the parties must reside in Florida for six months before the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed. Either party may be a resident. The nonresident party may file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Likewise, the petitioner may initiate a divorce proceeding against the nonresident if the petitioner has resided in Florida for six months. The parties cannot stipulate to residents to confer subject matter jurisdiction. Residence is defined as actual presence Florida coupled with intent to make Florida the place of residence. A party need not be present in Florida during the entire six month period before the petition is filed. If the resident petitioner moves from Florida after filing the petition, the residence requirement may still be satisfied.

Military Members

Florida courts have recognized an exception to the statutory residence requirement as to members of the military, allowing them to seek divorce without proving their actual presence Florida for the six month statutory period before filing the petition.

There are no residence requirements the following related actions:

Distribution Of Florida Property

In order for a court to award property. It must have in rem jurisdiction-the property must be located in the state of Florida. The Florida court can award marital property located in Florida to one of the parties (or order it sold and the proceeds distributed) even if the court does not have personal jurisdiction over respondent, but the court not award property located outside of to one of the parties (or order it sold and the proceeds distributed). It blessed has personal jurisdiction over the parties.

Personal Jurisdiction: support and other monetary relief

The court must have personal jurisdiction over the respondents to order and enforce its of alimony, child-support, or attorneys fees in any divorce proceedings.

Personal jurisdiction over a resident respondent is obtained by:

  • Personal Service on the respondent within the state of Florida.
  • Substitute Service on the respondent with the state of Florida.
  • Service outside the state of Florida pursuant to the long arm statute.
Jurisdiction For Child Custody Determinations

The court has jurisdiction to make orders relating to the parental responsibility and parenting plan of minor children which is called parental responsibility in Florida. If there is more than one state may have jurisdiction, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) prescribes when they Florida court may exercise jurisdiction. The law does not confer jurisdiction but is primarily intended to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflicts with the courts of other states in matters of child custody, which have in the past, resulted in the shifting of children from state to state with harmful effects on their well-being. The UCCJEA applies to custody proceedings. A child custody proceeding is a proceeding in which the legal custody, physical custody, residential care, or visitation with respect to the child is in issue.

West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney

The law offices of, Stephen J. Press is a full-service divorce and family law firm, handling a wide range of divorce and family law matters. We always strive to protect your rights with professional excellence. Please contact the law offices of Stephen J. Press at 561-833-2772 for a free consultation or contact us online.