In Florida, the Court will grant a divorce even if only one spouse wants the divorce. In fact, Florida is a “no fault” divorce state which means that a divorce will be granted without an allegation or finding of fault by either spouse.
With this in mind, what happens if one of the spouses does not want a divorce? In Florida, when one spouse is served with a divorce action but that spouse believes the marriage is not “irretrievably broken,” and if there is a minor child of the marriage, he or she can request the Court to order marriage counseling.
Specifically, that spouse may ask the Court to order either or both parties to consult with a marriage counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, minister, priest, rabbi, or any other person deemed qualified by the Court and acceptable to the spouse or spouses ordered to seek consultation. If the parties engage in any type of counseling to repair the marriage, the Court will generally place the proceedings on “hold” for a reasonable length of time which should not exceed three (3) months, to enable the parties themselves to effect a reconciliation or the Court can take any other action deemed to be in the best interest of the parties and the minor child(ren) of the marriage.
Despite this option, the relief is seldom used. This is because marriage counseling cannot save many marriages when both parties want the marriage to succeed. In these circumstances, if one spouse wants to save the marriage but the other spouse wants to divorce, the counseling has little chance for success. Thus, if one spouse wants a divorce in Florida, the other spouse has limited, if any, options in the matter.
Therefore, if you are served with a divorce action, take the matter seriously even if you believe the marriage can be saved. Hire an attorney to assist you in your requests, whether for reconciliation or not. Otherwise, the case will proceed without you and you may well get a very bad result.