Frequently Asked Questions About Getting a Divorce in Florida
How long does divorce take in Florida?
Florida has many unavoidable waiting periods no divorcing couple can avoid, but the length of a divorce will vary depending on what kind it is. Couples qualifying for a simplified divorce must wait at least 20 days after signing a petition for a hearing at which point the marriage can be dissolved, though the hearing date may be set more than 20 days after signing. In an uncontested divorce — where the couple agrees on the divorce terms — the entire process can take as little as four to five weeks, but it can go up to a few months. When the couple disagrees on issues like child support or alimony, a contested divorce is held, which can take anywhere from four months to over a year, depending on how busy the courts are.
How is child support calculated in Florida?
Child support in Florida is a fluid number based upon state guidelines, but the court will ultimately decide child support costs on a case by case bases. Some factors included in child support calculations are:
- Monthly net income of non-custodial parent (the income the parent who is not the child's main keeper takes home after taxes)
- Monthly net income of custodial parent
- Number of children
- Number of days parents will spend with the child(ren)
- Monthly insurance costs for both parents
- The child(ren)'s standard needs
Other factors, like cost incurred during a job search, may be included in the court's choice.
It is important to note that one large factor considered is income. Consequently, most child support orders are built to change if the parent's income changes.
What is a no fault divorce state?
Florida is a no fault divorce state, which means that if a couple no longer gets along they can file for a dissolution of marriage. A spouse may file for a divorce without his or her spouse having committed any fault. In Florida, you must only prove your marriage is "irretrievably broken" to petition for a divorce.
What does dissolution of marriage mean?
Dissolution of marriage is the legal term for divorce in Florida. Instead of filing for a divorce, you petition for dissolution of marriage in order to terminate a marriage.
How much are Florida divorce attorney fees?
Unless you have an uncontested divorce case, Florida divorce attorneys will charge anywhere between $175 to $400 dollars per hour, depending on the lawyer. Most lawyers will also demand an upfront retainer fee before any work is done. These "unearned funds" allow the lawyer to start working on the case immediately. Additionally, most lawyers will charge a flat fee for an initial consultation.
The exact price depends on the length and complexity of the divorce. An uncontested divorce could cost a little as $2,000 with a contested case climbing up to $10,000 or more.
Can my spouse pay my attorney fees?
Yes, Florida allows for courts to order one spouse to pay for the other spouse's reasonable attorney fees when filling for a divorce. Both parties may request that the other pays for the respective attorney fees. If you wish to request that your spouse pays for your attorney fees, you must do so when filing a petition of dissolution of marriage or in your answer to one. In order words, this must be requested at the start of the proceedings. The court judges if one spouse must cover the other's attorney fees and will base the choice on these topics:
- Both spouses' financial resources
- The proceeding's history and length
- Behavior of both spouses
- Existence of need
While you may be granted this request, the court must still determine if the attorney's fee are reasonable. If the court decides otherwise, it is unlikely that your partner will be asked to pay a portion of the fees and the request may be denied.