How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?
According to USA Today, the average cost of a divorce in Florida is $13,500 if there are no kids involved and $20,300 if there are kids involved. The true cost can be much higher or much lower depending on how many contested issues there are and what type of process is used.
Divorce is a difficult and stressful experience for every person and, at the same time, a complicated legal process during which the spouses have to resolve several important issues. These include the distribution of marital property, questions regarding child custody, and the provision of further spousal support. The more complex and disputed the divorce, the higher its final cost. As a rule, most of the expenses fall on the services of lawyers, which are an almost indispensable constituent of a contested divorce.
What Affects the Cost of Divorce?
The main factor influencing the final cost of a Florida divorce is the willingness of spouses to come to a joint agreement regarding marital property, assets, debts, and custody. Couples who try to negotiate can count on a low price tag, which often does not even reach the $1000 mark. If the parties are not cooperative and prefer participating in litigations, the divorce expenses will increase tenfold, and the final spending for the divorce procedure will often exceed $10,000.
On average, the cost of divorce in Florida with child under 18 is about $20,000. This is, perhaps, the most expensive divorce option, especially when the spouses have significant disagreements over custody decisions, child support, insurance coverage, including children in tax info, etc. In this situation, third-party expert witnesses may be involved in the trial. For example, the court may hear the opinion of childcare specialists, whose job is to provide a professional point of view on custody or set visitation times for parents.
Divorce prices in Florida are heavily affected by whether the case includes the following contentious issues:
- Custody battles. Divorce proceedings with children usually require a large number of court hearings. In particular, an issue that usually delays the caseand causes additional costs is child support. Sometimes it can be challenging to establish child support due to the inability to accurately determine the income of one of the parties because of, for example, self-employment.
- Fighting over marital assets. The process of dividing property, assets, and debts during the dissolution of a marriage often requires many appraisal operations. Florida is a state with a fair division of property. Therefore, the court will take into account a lot of factors, for example, the financial situation of each of the partners, the length of the marriage, etc. Cases relating to the division of property rarely end quickly, and future exes usually need to spend a substantial amount of money on attorney fees.
- Legal assistance & legal fees. The average fee for a divorce attorney is $260 to $330 per hour. At the end of the case, a full package of legal services can cost each spouse between $11,000 and $14,000. As for the court filing fees, they are usually just under $500 ($409 for filing fees + up to $50 for service process + up to $30 for extras).
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Florida?
The fastest and cheapest divorce option is a simplified dissolution of marriage. A simple divorce cost typically averages at $500, and the process takes about 30 days from filing. The main requirements for initiating such a divorce are as follows:
- At least one spouse must have resided in Florida for the past six months;
- Both spouses must accept the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken and agree to all terms of the divorce;
- The couple must not have children under the age of 18;
- The wife must not be pregnant;
- No spouse will ask for alimony.
The cost of uncontested divorce in Florida for spouses is:
- about $600 if you complete and file the divorce papers yourself.
- $3,000 to $5,000 if a divorce attorney handles the case from start to finish.
To file for an uncontested divorce, spouses should meet similar residency requirements as in a simplified divorce. Also, the parties must first come to a full agreement regarding the division of property, assets, and debts, as well as the establishment of custody, visitation, and alimony.
Couples who do not want to seek the help of divorce attorneys should turn their attention to our online service. The cost of getting a divorce without a lawyer in this case will be $139 for the preparation of forms + court fees (around $500). Using the services of our company, you will be able to avoid mistakes in the preparation of divorce documents and significantly save on the expenses for the lawyers’ services, in particular, consultations on how to fill out documents and file them.
How Much Do Divorce Papers Cost
There are several options for preparing the divorce papers:
- DIY (do-it-yourself). The petitioner finds and fills out all the required divorce documents on their own and then submits them to the court. This way, the cost of a divorce in Florida will only include the court fees of up to $500. However, the main drawback of this type of form preparation is that it may be difficult to find out what forms are needed for your case, where to look for them, and if they are up-to-date. Without professional help, it is possible to make mistakes in the forms, which may delay the divorce process.
- Our online service greatly simplifies the procedure for preparing divorce forms and helps avoid any issues with filling them out. By ordering our services, you will get all the papers applicable to your case within the deadline you request, as well as instructions on how to file them correctly with the court. We charge a flat fee of $139 for our services. Additionally, you will need to pay the standard court fee.
How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Florida?
The average attorney fees for divorce are $295 per hour. The decision to hire a lawyer will significantly affect the cost of divorce in Florida. The experience and track record of the lawyer and the specifics of the case greatly influence the price of their services. The fees are higher if there are disputes over a large amount of property, joint accounts, and child custody.
In large cities like Jacksonville, Miami, and Tampa, a lawyer’s hourly rate can be as high as $350, while in smaller towns, it typically starts at $260. Before taking a case, most family law attorneys in Florida request a retainer payment from the client. It is a fee of $2,000 to $5,000 that covers lawyer’s legal services for a certain period of time.
The divorce lawyer cost in a contested case that goes to trial will be several times higher compared to that of a simplified and uncontested divorces due to the:
- need for additional preparation for court proceedings and appearances.
- increase in the number of working hours a lawyer will have to devote to a particular case.
Moreover, the client will probably need to pay multiple attorney’s retainers. The total cost of legal support in this situation can easily reach $20,000. More information about the price of lawyer services in Florida can be found here.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce?
Divorce fees in Florida are about $410. You may also need to pay for self-representation or making copies of documents.
When calculating the cost of filing for divorce, the service process should always be taken into account. In most counties in the state, it is handled by the Sheriff’s Office, which charges about $40 to serve the divorce papers, including Summons. The Clerk of Court charges $10 for its issuance, and the document itself is attached to a copy of the petition and other completed divorce forms. In some instances, the petitioner has to find a private process server to deliver divorce documents to the other spouse.
If you are not financially able to pay the above filing fee for divorce in Florida, you may fill out an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. After checking it, the court may either waive the fee altogether or set a plan for smaller regular payments. If it turns out that a person has a sufficient stable income, then they will have to pay the full amount of the court fees to start the divorce process.
We have created a system that helps you get all the necessary paperwork without a struggle. With an online divorce, all you need to pay is $139, irrespective of the number of forms needed for your case. Our questionnaire is designed to be simple and straightforward, even for those who do not have any legal background.
Michelle Walton is known as the divorce expert and content writer for flonlinedivorce.com. She is a regular contributor to Men’s Journal, and her articles about property division and child support custody can be seen on various divorce blogs. Michelle’s background in psychology and family law and her own experience with divorce make her equipped to write about various divorce-related topics professionally.