There may be a chill in the air, but divorce rates in Florida are heating up. Here’s why.

By February 12, 2021

A combination of lifestyle factors and economic opportunities are enticing people from around the country to move to Florida. 2020 set new records for population growth, with almost a thousand people officially moving in every day. Real estate is booming, and new businesses are starting up. An increase in divorce rates will certainly follow.

A recent study shows that Florida is the nation’s top destination for newly divorced men, but the influx of new residents is also bound to spur a flurry of divorce filings. If you are looking to file for divorce in the Sunshine State after recently moving here, there are certain residency requirements that must be met to avoid interference by your prior State that may have ties to you, your spouse and children, or your assets and liabilities.

Prior to filing for a divorce in Florida, you must have resided in Florida for at least six months with the intention to make Florida your permanent residency. Of course, for someone who has lived and worked in Florida for years, residence in Florida is a non-issue, but proving intent to make Florida your permanent residence when you have recently moved requires a bit more.  Contrary to popular belief, just buying property in Florida is not sufficient to prove your intention to remain here.

Here are several examples of what the Florida Courts may look for from you when your intention to make Florida your permanent residency is called into question:  

You have lived in Florida for at least six months and:

  • Driver’s license or automobile tag: If you have moved to Florida permanently, you generally change your driver’s license or automobile tags to reflect your new home state.    
  • Voter registration: When you are intending to remain in Florida, you generally change your voting registration to your new permanent address.
  • School enrollment: If you have children, you generally have enrolled them in school in your new home state.
  • Utility bills: If you are living in Florida, you will have bills for water or power for your residency, regardless of whether you own or rent.
  • Proof of employment in Florida: Due to COVID-19 and remote working, whether your job is actually in Florida will now be irrelevant; however, proof of change of address on your paystubs or 401k documents can be used instead.

Additionally, it is important to know that this six-month residency requirement does not mean that you must be continuously present in Florida the entire six-months.  Rather, it means that you cannot be completely physically absent from Florida during that time.  You can always travel for work, family emergencies, vacations and the like.

For more information about the residency requirement, Kluger Kaplan’s experience or assistance with family law matters, please contact us.