Prior to 1971, a divorce, or dissolution of marriage in Florida, could only be granted on a showing of fault (for example, adultery, extreme cruelty, intemperance or drug addiction). On July 1, 1971, the Marriage Dissolution Act took effect, which provided two legal grounds for a divorce: that the marriage is irretrievably broken; or, that one of the parties is mentally incapacitated.
A marriage that is irretrievably broken has been defined as one in which the marriage relationship is for all intents and purposes ended, no longer viable, a hollow sham beyond hope of reconciliation or repair. In reality, if a person alleges that his or her marriage is irretrievably broken, it usually is, and will be the basis for the granting of the divorce.
Although fault, misconduct, or wrongdoing on the part of either or both parties may no longer be considered by the court as the sole basis for granting a divorce, sometimes misconduct may be relevant to other issues in a divorce case, such as custody, alimony, or equitable distribution of assets.