Florida Divorce FAQ
How long does the divorce process take?
Florida law only requires a judge to wait 20 days from the time a divorce petition is filed to grant a divorce, and even this waiting period may be waived. This means that the length of time it takes to get divorced in Florida depends largely on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce can take as little as a few weeks, but if the court must decide any issues, such as custody, parenting time, child support or spousal support, a divorce can take six months or longer. If the circuit court is extremely busy, this can also extend the time it takes to get a divorce.
How much does divorce cost?
Attorney’s fees can vary widely, ranging anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars depending on the extent of negotiations and whether you go to trial. However, avoiding trial does not necessarily mean less attorney’s fees. You may spend more on attorneys’ fees in an uncontested case if you spend months arguing over the terms of an agreement than if you went directly to trial without a lot of negotiation. Your lawyer can help you determine your best course of action.
Apart from attorney’s fees, out-of-pocket costs generally include things like filing fees, process server’s fees, depositions, experts’ fees, photocopying, and phone calls. The attorney you hire should give you a rough estimate of expected total fees and costs at your initial meeting, but this estimate can change as your divorce moves forward.
Do I have to hire an attorney to obtain a divorce?
While legal representation is not required to obtain a divorce, hiring an attorney can greatly facilitate the process and ensure your rights and interests are protected. The laws in Florida concerning custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of marital assets and debts, and other critical issues are very complex. Attempting to proceed without obtaining legal advice is extremely hazardous and oftentimes will only lead to delays and difficulties.
It is especially important to consult with a divorce attorney if you have children, own real estate, have a disparity in income, brought significant assets into the marriage, have a disability or health issues, have incurred substantial debt, or have been married for more than a couple years. Divorce is generally not a time to cut costs, as money that you may think you are saving now could cost you a great deal more in the future.
How can I learn more?
If you are considering divorce and you live in the Clearwater-St. Petersburg area, contact the Law Offices of Gale H. Moore to schedule a consultation. We will explain your legal options, so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your family.