The average cost of a divorce in Florida is over $13,500, if there are no children involved, and if there are kids involved, that average cost skyrockets to up over $20,000. Another thing that’s interesting is the average time to obtain a divorce in Florida ranges from 3 months to 24 months, and with the average, contested, or fought divorce case taking about 12 months to conclude.
The first thing you want to do is get your ducks in a row. Divorce cases are fought with a lot of documents. You’re going to have to gather all kinds of financial documents. You’re going to have to complete a lengthy financial affidavit outlining your income and your deductions from your income. That includes all sources of income, including retirement payments and wages. You’re going to have to identify your assets, your debts, your living expenses, and if there’s kids, your children’s expenses. That takes a lot of time to gather all of that information. So, if you are able to do all the legwork and gather that stuff in an efficient way, that will help keep the time and the cost of your divorce down.
Another thing that’s important is that you accept responsibility and the reality that you are going to be getting divorced. In the state of Florida, we have no fault divorce. So really, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is and oftentimes we find it’s there’s fault on both sides, but again, it doesn’t matter in getting the divorce. Rather than focusing on whose fault it is, focus on the fact that it is over, and you should be preparing to move on in the smoothest way possible. In the state of Florida, you are only required to show that your marriage is irretrievably broken. One example I like to use is that of a chain. You know, if we had a two linked chain in your marriage and one link is broken, that is your spouse believes your marriage is irretrievably broken, your chain is in fact broken. Often, it’s nearly impossible to stop a divorce if one of the parties wants it. So, accepting it as a reality will help you keep your mind focused on the things that need to be done to keep your costs and the time involved to get your divorce at a minimum.
The third thing is to keep your kids out of it. You’re the adults, be adults, and recognize that the divorcing of the kid’s parents is a very traumatic thing for them. The less that you can involve them in that process, the better they’re going to be, the better you’re going to be, and the better you’ll likely get along with your spouse from whom you’re divorcing because the kids will continue to maintain a great relationship with each parent, even if you are no longer married to each other.
Fourth, you should be prepared to give and take. Nobody gets everything they want in any type of case, and certainly not in divorce cases. What you need to do is look at the big picture things and you know, as they say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Inevitably, there are some things that have sentimental or emotional value but have very little financial value, it’s important to recognize those things. If those are items your spouse wants to give, and likewise, hopefully if they are things that are real close to you, your spouse will give, and you guys will be able to keep the costs, the fighting, and hence the time to get the divorce down to a minimum.
And lastly, you need to get to know what the appropriate documents are that you will have to file in order to get the divorce, and the appropriate timing and order of filing those documents.
Now, the Florida Supreme Court has put together a packet full of documents and full of instructions. They’re designed to allow people to pursue and obtain their divorce without getting the assistance of a lawyer. Unfortunately, they’re not real clear, but you can, if you study them, handle this on your own and you can keep the cost down significantly. Overwhelming expenses in these cases are for attorneys and if both parties are fighting you can see how that expense can double, the fighting can snowball and the expenses can get out of hand. If you’re setting out to do it yourself, know what form you need, get them, use them in the proper order, and at the proper time.
If you don’t want to do that, if you retain an attorney, be sure you get one that is qualified and experienced in these matters, and that they’re looking out for your best interests. You know the cases can become very expensive. You want to make sure that the attorneys are doing things that that are in your interest so that those costs can be kept down and fighting kept to a minimum, if it’s at all possible.
Now click the link below for a list for the list of five things that I’ve just given you. I’ve also included in the in the section below, a link to the Florida Supreme Court forms. You can click on that and start your journey, get the forms and the instructions if you wish to handle this matter on your own.