St. Petersburg area has a very high divorce rate compared to the rest of the U.S., and lawmakers are looking for solutions | Yeazell and Sweet

The sunshine state has always had a reputation for being a place that is home to many divorcees, and now there is data to back up that assumption. Florida comes in at number seven out of the fifty states for the number of annual divorces per capita.

Despite the fact that divorce is never a pleasant experience, there are ways to prepare and get help during the process to make the transition easier. Many lawyers throughout the state specialize in helping people with the formalities related to filing for divorce in the local courts.

Legislators want to pass a bill aimed at lowering Florida’s divorce rate

A legislator from Jacksonville is attempting to save tax dollars and administrative burdens on the courts by reducing the divorce rate. He believes that making couples seeking a marriage license read a “Guide to a Healthy Marriage,” among other measures, would cause the divorce rate to drop. The guide was created by a marriage committee appointed by Governor DeSantis.

Pinellas County, Florida, which is home to the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, was specifically identified as having the highest rate in the state. The city of South Pasadena, which borders St. Petersburg, has the highest divorce rate per capita in Florida. Over 22% of people living in South Pasadena have already been divorced at least once. The nearby town of Gulfport also boasts a divorce rate close to twenty percent.

Divorce rates seem to be affected by region, as the southern states of Georgia and Alabama have some of the highest divorce rates in the country like Florida, while states in the northeast such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont have some of the lowest in the nation. Florida’s per capita divorce rate is about two percent higher than the U.S. national average of 10.9%.

What leads to a divorce?

While there is no one exact answer regarding why marriages fail, there are some common issues that tend to indicate a marriage is in severe distress. Financial problems, adultery, and constant incompatibility and arguing remain near the top in terms of reasons why people file for divorce. Couples are advised that a few indicator problems, such as, lack of intimacy or sex, not caring about the feelings of the other spouse, more time spent arguing than enjoying each other’s company, and romantic interest in friends or acquaintances, could mean that a divorce is on the horizon. Many couples will simply give up after long periods of time that involve arguments, or start trying to avoid each other as much as possible, as they associate the other spouse’s presence with problems. When this happens, there are usually also time periods where at least one member of the couple will start to think about being single again, or start to actively arrange their post divorce life without telling the other person.

Corrective measures like therapy for married couples tend to have a very low success rate, because problems have already become severe once a husband and a wife realize they need outside help.

Get legal help sooner rather than later

When it becomes clear that a marriage has broken down, it is advisable to contact an attorney who specializes in family law as soon as possible to protect your assets and other interests, such as child custody. The lawyer may need to argue on your behalf during the divorce regarding issues such as alimony, child support, and property distribution. Trying to handle these hearings on your own is not advisable, as you will be at a severe disadvantage if your spouse has retained an experienced attorney who knows the practices and procedures of local judges and the court system.

Florida’s divorce laws and regulations

Florida allows for a simple form of divorce called “no fault divorce” which is now common throughout most of the U.S. This means that one or both spouses can file for divorce as long as they believe the marriage has broken down. The exact reasons are not important in a no fault divorce, and there is no legal requirement of traditional fault based grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or mental incapacity.

The only other requirement is residency in the state, to ensure that couples filing in Florida have actually lived within its borders in the immediate preceding months. After a brief discussion with a divorce lawyer, they can assist with filing the paperwork for you.

Get help from a divorce lawyer in the St. Petersburg area

To learn more about the process of getting a divorce and how to easily transition into single life, contact Yeazell and Sweet. They can explain all of the laws and formalities related to getting divorced in Florida, as well as related family law issues like custody, support payments, and property division.