Florida Divorce Costs – A Complete Guide
- Florida Divorce Costs – A Complete Guide
- Breakdown of Costs & Fees
- Avoiding Costly Litigation
- Filing Cost for Divorce in Florida
- How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer in Florida Cost?
- Child Support in Florida
- How to File For Divorce in Florida
In Florida, a contested divorce typically costs between $6,000 and $32,000. While the average price is $14,500, couples with children may pay up to $21,000. The range is vast, and the prospective costs have no upper limit.
The cost of a divorce in Florida can vary widely depending on factors. Some of the main factors that can impact the cost of a divorce in Florida include the following:
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested: If both spouses agree on all of the divorce terms, such as the division of assets and custody arrangements for any children, the divorce is considered uncontested and can be much less expensive than a contested divorce.
- The complexity of the divorce: If the divorce involves complex issues such as high-value assets or businesses, or if there are significant disputes over custody or other issues, the cost of the divorce can be higher.
- Whether an attorney is hired: While it is possible to complete a divorce without an attorney, many people hire one to help them navigate the process. The cost of an attorney can vary widely depending on their experience and the case’s complexity.
- Filing fees and other court costs: There are various fees associated with filing for divorce in Florida, including a filing fee that varies depending on the county where the divorce is filed.
With these factors in mind, the cost of a divorce in Florida can range from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. On average, an uncontested divorce in Florida can cost between $500 and $2,000 in legal fees and court costs, while a contested divorce can cost between $5,000 and $30,000 or more in legal fees and court costs.
Breakdown of Costs & Fees
Here’s a breakdown of estimated costs and fees for a divorce in Florida:
- Filing fee: The filing fee for a divorce in Florida varies depending on the county where the divorce is filed. The average filing fee is around $400.
- Service of process: If the other spouse cannot be located or does not agree to the divorce, the petitioner will need to have them served with legal papers. The cost of service of the process varies depending on the method used, but it can range from $30 to $100 or more.
- Attorney fees: If you hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce, the cost will depend on the complexity of your case, the experience of your attorney, and the amount of time they spend on your case. Hourly rates for divorce attorneys in Florida typically range from $200 to $500 per hour.
- Mediation fees: If you and your spouse cannot agree on all the divorce terms, you may be required to attend mediation. The cost of mediation in Florida can range from $100 to $500 per hour, depending on the mediator.
- Expert fees: If your divorce involves complex issues such as the valuation of assets or the determination of child custody, you may need to hire experts such as appraisers, accountants, or psychologists. The cost of expert fees can vary widely depending on the expert type and the case’s complexity.
Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to get a better idea of what the specific costs and fees will be in your case.
Avoiding Costly Litigation
When you and your spouse cannot agree on at least one aspect of your divorce, seeking a divorce in Florida can be costly. You can avoid contested litigation if you try to establish an agreement with your spouse over assets, finances, and childcare. If you are having trouble communicating, mediators and consulting attorneys may be able to help you achieve an agreement.
Here are some ways to avoid costly litigation in a divorce:
- Mediation: Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the divorcing couple reach an agreement. This is often a more cost-effective and less adversarial process than going to court.
- Collaborative divorce: In a collaborative divorce, both parties hire attorneys trained in the collaborative process. The attorneys work with the couple to reach an agreement without going to court.
- Negotiation: As mentioned earlier, negotiating a settlement with your spouse can help you avoid going to court and save money on legal fees.
- Focus on important issues: Identify the most important issues to you and prioritize them. This can help you avoid unnecessary battles over issues that are less important to you.
- Be cooperative: Cooperating with your spouse can help keep the divorce process moving forward and avoid costly delays.
- Hire the right attorney: Hiring an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate the divorce process and protect your rights. A good attorney can also help you minimize costs and avoid unnecessary litigation.
Because filing for divorce is so expensive, couples who can agree on the conditions of their separation and overcome their issues in areas such as:
- Payments for alimony
- Visitation and custody rights for children
- How to Divide Common Property
Couples can submit a written plan outlining a mutually accepted settlement with their divorce petition. This eliminates the need for additional filing costs and employing an attorney.
If such an agreement cannot be reached, couples might try to settle their disputes in court-supervised pretrial discussions. Couples who cannot agree on the conditions of their separation may seek the services of an attorney who may mediate and help construct an agreement before filing for divorce. This attorney cannot represent either party in court if these conversations do not result in a separation agreement.
If either spouse determines that self-representation will not assist them in making the most robust case in court, they may choose to hire a divorce lawyer privately. These attorneys typically bill by the hour and can be highly expensive, charging $200 or more per hour. It is critical to obtain a detailed, written estimate of your case’s schedule, the number of hours of labor necessary, and the final amount you will incur.
A judge must occasionally determine the problem of awarding reasonable child support to parents to be paid by the noncustodial spouse. The judge takes into account the following factors:
- Any earnings the children in question have
- Unusual medical costs
- Special family requirements
- The custody agreement’s terms
- Potential federal tax consequences
If a spouse seeks alimony payments, a judge has the power to evaluate everything he or she deems relevant to the case, including:
- The duration of the marriage
- The lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage
- Earning potential of both couples
How long will one spouse obtain the skills or education required to enter the labor force and become self-sufficient?
Payments can be made temporarily or indefinitely.
Some couples may refuse to divorce for religious reasons, to share shared health insurance while living apart, or for other reasons. In this situation, they can pay the lower filing price for a “Support Unconnected With Dissolution of Marriage” motion, which resolves the same concerns as a divorce action without the associated expenditure.
Filing Cost for Divorce in Florida
In Florida, the cost of filing for divorce varies by county. Filing a divorce petition will cost around $400, which must be paid when the paperwork is submitted to the appropriate court. If you cannot pay this charge, you may request a waiver by submitting a civil indigency waiver application. Further fees may apply if one spouse opposes the divorce or the terms proposed and formally files a response.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer in Florida Cost?
According to recent surveys, the typical Florida divorce attorney fee is around $330 per hour. Before accepting a case, lawyers usually want an advance payment – a retainer – to cover their legal services for a specified period.
What is the average retainer fee for a divorce lawyer?
It is generally between $2,000 and $6,000. If your case is contested, more retainers and maybe more outstanding initial payments will be available for an attorney to draw from as they work.
Your location, professional expertise, and case facts determine a family law attorney’s fee. Lawyers will normally charge you extra if you have property, joint accounts, or children.
How Much Does a Florida Uncontested Divorce Cost?
An uncontested divorce is an advantageous legal option for those who meet certain criteria. To qualify for an uncontested divorce in Florida, both parties must agree on child custody and support, visitation, alimony, and property division. Furthermore, each party must be a resident of the state to satisfy the residency requirements.
The cost of filing for an uncontested divorce will depend upon the route taken by the couple. It is possible to complete the entire process without the assistance of a lawyer at a very minimal cost.
- DIY kits may be purchased online to guide couples through the paperwork and filing instructions; this typically costs under $650.
- Utilizing the services of an attorney can add anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 to the overall cost.
- Filing fees are due when submitting the necessary forms, usually around $400.
- It is important to note that some counties may impose a nominal fee for self-representation of up to $15.
Couples whose income makes paying the filing fee difficult may apply for a Determination of Indigent Status to waive the fee. Lastly, it is necessary to note that service processes may require additional costs; hiring a process server or asking a county sheriff to serve one’s spouse carries an extra fee of approximately $50-$100.
Child Support in Florida
If you are required to pay child support in Florida, you may require more information on how your payments will be calculated and how to pay. Parents who owe child support may require advice on collecting FL child support from a nonpaying spouse. This resource helps answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Florida child support.
Child Support Calculator in Florida
State requirements will make child support payments in Florida. While judges may alter the amount of child support by up to 5% at their discretion, Florida child support rules require judges to provide written justification if the variation exceeds 5%. FL child support laws typically demand you to pay your kid’s basic support fees plus 5% for one child, 7.5% for two children, 9.5% for three, 11% for four, 12% for five, and 12.5% for six. In many circumstances, this can be altered owing to parental income, or one parent’s costs may change due to childcare duties and job search.
Child Support and Tax Credits in Florida
For IRS forms, child support payments are not considered taxable income. When you file your 1040, you will not be required to include any amount of child support paid. Child support payments are not deductible, regardless of how much you paid or how much income you earned last year. FL child support rules allow you to declare your child as a dependent even if you do not have physical possession in particular cases. You may claim your child as a dependent if you supply more than half of his or her support. Check your divorce paperwork, though, because Florida child support laws will enforce whatever is contained in your divorce agreement regarding who can claim children as dependents for tax purposes.
How to Apply for Child Support in Florida
If you are not paid what you are owed, you may be eligible to seek Florida child support enforcement. With the passage of Florida Statutes § 61.1824 (2022), the State of Florida Disbursement Unit (FLSDU) collects child support and ensures late payers pay. Once you’ve completed the application with all your information, follow the instructions to send it to the nearest Florida child support office.
FL child support responsibilities persist until a child reaches the age of 18 unless the child is still in high school and will graduate before the age of 19, in which case FL child support obligations last until graduation. If your child has a physical or mental handicap that will keep them dependent beyond 18, the court may order that support be extended. In other unique instances, courts can maintain maintenance beyond 18, but you should see a child support lawyer if this is something you are contemplating, as it is rarely granted.
How to File For Divorce in Florida
Filing for divorce is never simple, but online resources can make it easier to finish the procedures in the divorce process. This tutorial will walk you through filing for divorce in Florida.
1. Complete Divorce Paperwork
To file for divorce in Florida, you must complete the necessary paperwork. You can file an individual complaint or a combined petition for dissolution of marriage. Regardless of the forms you use, you must provide a considerable quantity of information about yourself and your spouse, including your names, residences, and the date and location of your wedding.
You must also provide information about any children you may have and any pre-nuptial arrangements you may have made before marrying. Almost all divorces in Florida are granted on no-fault grounds, with couples testifying that their marriage is “irretrievably destroyed.”
This is also the point at which you can submit judicial demands. Divorce papers allow you to request alimony, child support, or anything that appears acceptable besides the divorce itself. After completing the necessary documentation, you can file for divorce in Florida.
2. File the Documents
You must meet residency requirements to file your paperwork. Before you may petition for divorce in Florida, you must have lived in the state for six months.
If you want to dissolve your marriage in Florida, you can find all the forms you need at Florida’s Online Self-Help Center. In addition to providing the forms, they also provide instructions, such as this guide to the Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, to ensure you have all the necessary information to complete the process correctly.
You will take your paperwork to the county clerk’s office to be legally filed, and the divorce procedure will begin. The clerk will inform you of the filing fees for your divorce forms.
3. Look After Your Spouse
After filing for divorce in Florida, you must legally notify your spouse of the divorce. This is usually accomplished by employing the sheriff’s office or a private process server at a minimal cost. The documents will be presented to your spouse at his or her place of employment or at home.
4. Parenting Course
If you have children, you must take a parenting class after filing for divorce in Florida. This requirement ensures that parents understand the impact of divorce on children so they can help their children more effectively through tough times. This lesson can now be done online, giving busy parents much flexibility.
5. Agreement or Trial
After filing for divorce in Florida, you may wish to begin negotiating a divorce settlement agreement with your spouse. In virtually all circumstances, settling your divorce outside court is faster, easier, and less expensive than going to trial. Your divorce will be finalized, and you will be allowed to remarry as soon as you reach an agreement and the court approves it, or you go to trial, and the trial is completed.