Why Do Florida Courts Use The Term Dissolution of Marriage Rather Than Term Divorce?

For the past 30 years or so, when a couple wishes to end their marriage in Florida, they no longer seek a divorce, they need to seek a dissolution of marriage. Since the term “divorce” has existed for hundreds of years, why the change? It is interesting to look into the meaning of each term and see why the courts decided to reevaluate their concept of ending a couple’s “till death do us part” commitment. Dissolution of Marriage: As defined by the Dictionary.com “1. the act or process of resolving or dissolving into parts or elements, 2. the resulting state, 3. the undoing or breaking of a bond, tie, union, partnership, etc., 4. the breaking up of an assembly or organization; dismissal, dispersal, 6. death; decease, 7. a bringing or coming to an end; disintegration; decay; termination.” As defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary “the act of process of dissolving such as (a) separation into component parts (b) decay, disintegration, death, (c) termination or destruction by breaking down, disrupting” While both terms for ending a marriage, “divorce” and “dissolution of marriage” have similarities, it can be seen that “dissolving” is more appropriate than “breaking apart”. Dissolving is more definite as to dissolve is to completely destroy the original mixture while to break apart often allows a feeling of being able to “put it back together”. In most cases, couples desiring the end to their marriage will never desire to be a couple again so putting the relationship back together, or mending it, is not an option. Some couples do remarry, but these are, by far, in the minority. And so the courts in Florida, and many other states as well, use the term dissolution of marriage rather than divorce when legally ending a marriage.It is also interesting to note that for a number of years a dissolution of marriage meant a simple or uncontested legal breaking up of a marriage. A divorce was the term used when a couple needed the help of the court to decide outcomes. Now, in Florida, as it as a no-fault state, in other words it doesn’t matter what either spouse has done to destroy the marriage, there can be a legal ending for a marriage. The marriage is said to be irrevocably broken i.e. dissolved as in death as it cannot be revised or fixed. And, though not widely known, only one of the parties needs to desire a dissolution of marriage and, using the proper filing and procedural methods laid down by Florida courts, can obtain the legal dissolution desired. The other party can contest all they want to but, in the end, the party desiring a dissolution of their marriage will have it granted. Sometimes, in exceptional cases, adultery and cruelty may be considered in the drawing up of the parenting plan, the awarding of alimony and the equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities (Florida is not an equal distribution state), but this is not the general rule. Ending a marriage in Florida can be simple or complicated but it can be done. Dissolution or death of the committed relationship, given time and often complicated legal strategies, will happen if a person so desires.

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