The cost of getting a divorce in florida

The petition sets out what the petitioner wants from the court. The other spouse must file an answer within 20 days of being served, addressing the matters in the initial petition, and can choose to include a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage raising any additional issues that spouse requests the court to address.

Court rules governing a dissolution of marriage require that each party provide certain financial documents and a completed financial affidavit to the other party within 45 days of the service of the petition or several days before any temporary hearing. The parties or the court can modify these requirements except for the filing of a financial affidavit, which is mandatory in all cases in which financial relief is sought.

Getting a Divorce in Florida: 9 Things You Should Be Aware Of - Cascade Business News

A child-support guidelines worksheet also must be filed with the court at or before any hearing on child support. This requirement may not be waived by the parties or the court. Mediation is a procedure to assist you and your spouse in working out an arrangement for reaching an agreement without a protracted process or a trial. Its purpose is not to save a marriage but to help divorcing spouses reach a solution and arrive at agreeable terms for handling the break-up of the marriage.

Many counties have public or court-connected mediation services available. Some spouses agree on some or all of the issues before or after the petition is filed. Parties who have reached an understanding as to their desired outcome s enter into a written agreement that is signed by both parties and then presented to the court. Parties who do not yet have a written agreement but have reached an understanding also may appear for a final hearing with a suggested settlement that they ask the court to accept and incorporate into a final judgment.

In such uncontested cases, a dissolution of marriage can become final in a short amount of time.

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Reaching an agreement empowers parties to create terms with which they are more likely to comply rather than leaving decisions up to a judge. Each party will present evidence and testimony to the judge during the final hearing, and then the judge makes the final decision on the contested issues.

Certain couples are eligible to dissolve their marriage by way of a simplified procedure. This type of dissolution was designed so the services of an attorney might not be necessary.


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Spouses are responsible, however, for filing all necessary documents correctly, and both parties are required to appear before a judge together when the final dissolution is granted. You can retain an attorney to represent you even in an uncontested matter. The cost for such services is generally much less than in a contested case. Not everyone can use the simplified procedure. Couples can use the simplified dissolution of marriage only if all the following requirements are met:. If you and your spouse cannot meet all of the above requirements, you will have to follow the procedure of the regular dissolution of marriage process.

There are substantial differences between a simplified and a regular dissolution of marriage. In a regular dissolution, each spouse has the right to examine and cross-examine the other as a witness. With a simplified dissolution, financial information may be requested by either party, but disclosing financial information is not required.

Getting a Divorce in Florida: 9 Things You Should Be Aware Of

It is the public policy of Florida to ensure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or the marriage is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of child-rearing. In most cases, parental responsibility for a minor child will be shared by both parents so that each retains full parental rights and responsibilities with respect to their child. Shared parenting requires both parents to confer so that major decisions affecting the welfare of the child will be determined jointly.

The court will determine any or all of these matters if the parties cannot agree. In very rare cases, the court can order sole parental responsibility to one parent. To do so, the court must determine that shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to the child.

Florida Divorce Guide

In determining parental responsibility, the court will approve or devise its own Parenting Plan, which includes responsibility for the daily tasks of child-rearing, the time-sharing schedule, and decision-making authority relating to health care, school and related activities. The plan also will specify any technology that will be used for parent-child communication. The parents may agree on a Parenting Plan and submit it to the court for approval, or the court will determine these issues.

The statute includes a list of factors for the court to consider in making these decisions. Florida law requires both parties to attend a parenting course before entering a final dissolution of marriage. Some courts require children of parents going through dissolution of marriage to attend a class specifically designed for them.

Divorce in Florida Cost

One of the most difficult and complex areas of dissolution of marriage is the division of assets and debts. Assets may include cars, houses, retirement benefits pensions and k plans , business interests, cash, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property and other things of value. There are two types of assets and debts in Florida — nonmarital and marital.

Generally, any asset or debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital and subject to distribution. The parties also may have assets or debts that are considered nonmarital and should be awarded to only one party. Although the court must begin with the presumption that all marital assets and debts are to be divided equally 50 percent each between the parties, the court may distribute the marital estate fairly or equitably not necessarily equally between the parties, regardless of how title is held. A court decides equitable distribution before considering alimony. Equitable distribution is based on a long list of factors the court is required to consider.

Factors to be considered by the court include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage; the duration of the marriage; and the economic circumstances of each spouse. The court should approve your agreement if the court finds it to be reasonable.

If you and your spouse cannot agree, the court will divide the assets and debts during trial. After equitable distribution, the court may consider an alimony award. The court may grant alimony to either spouse. For the court to award alimony, the requesting spouse must demonstrate a need for alimony and the ability of the other party to pay. Once the requesting spouse has established a need and an ability to pay, the court must determine all relevant factors to determine the property type and amount of alimony to award. For purposes of determining alimony, there is a rebuttable presumption that a short-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of less than 7 years, a moderate-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of greater than 7 years but less than 17 years, and a long-term marriage is a marriage having a duration of 17 years or greater.

The length of a marriage is the period of time from the date of marriage until the date of filing of an action for dissolution of marriage.

Florida Divorce Law Crash Course

Bridge-the-gap alimony may be awarded to help a spouse make a transition from being married to being single. Bridge-the-gap alimony is designed to assist a spouse with legitimate, identifiable short-term needs. There are limits as to the length and conditions of a bridge-the-gap alimony award. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded to assist a spouse in establishing the capacity for self-support through either the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials, or the acquisition of education, training or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.

The court must articulate a specific rehabilitative plan to award alimony so both parties clearly understand the expectations placed on the alimony recipient. Durational alimony may be awarded when permanent periodic alimony is inappropriate. The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a spouse with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short or moderate duration or following a marriage of long duration if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. There are limitations as to the length and modifiability of a durational alimony award.

Permanent alimony may be awarded to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage of the parties for a spouse who lacks the financial ability to meet the needs and necessities of life following a dissolution of marriage. There are limitations as to when a court may award permanent periodic alimony, particularly for marriages of short or moderate duration. Some of the factors the court considers when determining the type and amount of the alimony award include, but are not limited to:. Discovery includes the exchange of documents and answers to written or oral questions.

There are important tax considerations in any dissolution of marriage, including the dependency deduction for children, taxability and deductibility of child support and alimony in their various forms, and effects of property transfers. Know the tax consequences of your settlement agreement before finalizing your dissolution of marriage. It may be too late after the signing of a marital settlement agreement or entry of a final judgment to correct mistakes that have been made. You may want to obtain the services of an accountant in conjunction with your attorney to become better informed about this part of the dissolution process.

You and your spouse each have a responsibility to financially support your children in accordance with your income and their needs. Child support may be by direct payment or by indirect benefits, such as mortgage payments, insurance or payment of medical and dental expenses. Ordinarily, the obligation to support your child ends when that child reaches age 18, marries, is emancipated, joins the armed forces or dies.

Other questions may need to be answered, depending on the circumstances of your case. Guidelines for the amount of support apply to all cases and are based on the income of the parents and the number of children, with adjustments for substantial overnight contact. If you have a problem receiving support payments from your spouse or former spouse, or the time-sharing plan is not being followed, you should bring this matter to the attention of the court.

It is not legal to withhold time-sharing or child-support payments because either parent fails to pay court-ordered child support or violates the time-sharing schedule in the parenting plan. Florida law permits the court to restore the former name of a spouse in a Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.

Using tools like settlement conferences and mediations are great ways to resolve contested issues on a budget. Once you and your spouse come to an agreement in all areas of your divorce, you can often proceed to the final hearing within two to three weeks and get your divorce finalized. Most partially contested divorces are resolved in 9 months or less. If your divorce is contested, your divorce could take nine months or longer to conclude. There are many factors such as minor children, property, assets, etc.

The more you and your spouse contend over the longer the process will take and the more it will cost. If you want to get divorced in Florida, but cannot find your spouse, you must first conduct a diligent good faith search which is required by Florida law. We explain this process in all of the Just Divorce programs except for the simplified dissolution option since both parties must be available to file for simplified divorce in Florida.

To complete a diligent good faith search you must complete a list of steps to find your spouse, and then you will be able to get a divorce. If you want to divide property or request alimony, you cannot do so using this method of filing for divorce.

Filing for Divorce without an Attorney

Your spouse must be found and served with papers in that circumstance. Mediation is the single most cost-effective way to resolve your divorce in Florida. It costs far less to have a mediator work through your divorce issues than it does to pay attorneys to prepare for trial. Mediators do not provide legal advice, and they are not for one party or the other, but they can help you, and your spouse come to a compromise and develop a reasonable settlement agreement. They can also advise you and your spouse what the court might do in a given area.

It is best to work with lawyer-mediators or Florida Supreme Court certified mediators who understand Family law. The best time to mediate your case is after you and your spouse have fully disclosed all of your financial matters to one another and can see all the pros and cons involved in your case.

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