How much does a divorce cost in Florida? Read on for everything to know about what impacts the cost of divorce in Florida.
Dealing with a divorce in Florida can be stressful and challenging. A question that comes up frequently is, “How much does a divorce cost in Florida?”
Each divorce is different, so it can be difficult to predict the exact cost of a divorce from the outset.
But there are certain factors that affect the cost of divorce in Florida. Understanding those factors can help eliminate some of the stress and uncertainty involved, and hopefully give you a sense of how much your Florida divorce might cost.
This article will identify the key factors that impact divorce costs in Florida, share the average cost of divorce in Florida, and provide resources that may help individuals explore lower-cost options if they cannot afford a Florida divorce attorney.
Per USA Today, the average cost of a divorce in Florida without children is $13,500, and the average cost of divorce in Florida with children is $20,300.
But take these numbers with a (large) grain of salt – the reality is every divorce is different, and there is no such thing as an “average” cost of divorce in Florida. For instance, the cost of an uncontested divorce in Florida differs substantially from that of a contested divorce.
To understand how expensive your divorce might be, it’s important to understand what influences the total cost of a divorce in Florida.
So, how much is a divorce in Florida? The answer depends on several key factors.
Some factors are specific and knowable inputs, such as court costs or attorneys’ fees. Other factors are more thematic, such as whether you and your ex-spouse can work together.
Here are some key factors that impact how much a divorce costs in Florida, which we’ll discuss in greater detail below.
Court costs and filing fees are fixed costs you can expect to pay in any divorce case. The filing fee to initiate a divorce proceeding in Florida typically costs about $410, but the fee sometimes varies by county.
Here are some examples by county:
Beyond the initial divorce filing fees, it's important to consider additional costs associated with filing various motions, as these fees can differ depending on the county and the type of paperwork involved. There may also be fees associated with serving divorce papers on your ex-spouse.
Court costs and filing fees are payable directly to the court, and it's advisable to verify the specific filing fees and court costs applicable in your county by consulting the local county courthouse or seeking guidance from a family law attorney.
You may be able to get a fee waiver for court filing fees in Florida, depending on your economic situation.
The form is called the Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status.
But remember, it’s essential to use the correct form for your local court, so be sure to check online or ask the clerk of your local courthouse.
Understanding the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer in Florida involves grasping their billing methods and the overall expenses involved.
In Florida, most divorce lawyers typically employ two main fee structures: hourly rates or flat fees. Additionally, they may require an initial retainer, serving as an upfront payment to cover legal fees and expenses.
Under the hourly rate model, you will be billed based on the time your lawyer dedicates to your case. Conversely, flat fee arrangements involve a predetermined fee for the entire divorce process.
Which fee structure suits you best will depend on your unique circumstances and the specific dynamics of your divorce. And note that some divorces lend themselves more to one fee structure or the other.
For instance, a Florida divorce attorney might be more likely to offer a flat fee for a straightforward uncontested divorce where they can more accurately predict the amount of work involved than for a contested divorce where it’s harder to predict how much time they’ll ultimately spend on your case.
The average hourly fee for Family Law lawyers in Florida is approximately $327 per hour.
But again, this is just an average, and hourly rates can vary based on factors such as the lawyer's experience and market rates in your area. For instance, the average cost of divorce attorneys in major metro areas like Miami or Jacksonville might be higher than in other locales in Florida.
The other key factor that will dictate attorney's fees is how much time the divorce attorney spends on your case, which brings us to the other key factors that affect the cost of divorce in Florida – the complexity and contentiousness of your case.
How complex and how adversarial your divorce is plays a significant role in determining the overall cost of divorce in Florida.
Generally, the more complex and contentious your divorce, the greater costs are likely to be. A key distinction in this regard is whether your divorce is uncontested or contested.
While we will delve into each of these aspects below, it's essential to remember that a collaborative approach between you and your spouse can simplify the divorce process and reduce expenses.
Uncontested divorces occur when both spouses reach a mutual agreement on all divorce-related matters, including alimony, child support, child custody, and property division.
On the other hand, contested divorces occur when the parties cannot agree on one or more divorce-related issues, leading to court involvement. Even if you and your spouse agree on most matters but have a single unresolved issue, your divorce will be categorized as contested. (E.g. you agree on alimony and property division but not child custody).
The distinction between the two types of divorce is crucial because uncontested divorces are typically simpler, faster, and, therefore, less expensive than contested divorces.
How much does an uncontested divorce cost? If you don't have complicated or substantial assets and can work with your ex-spouse to reach an agreement, you may only have to pay the relevant court costs and filing fees.
How much does a contested divorce cost? This is even harder to predict as there is still a huge range of outcomes when dealing with contested divorces. The number of unresolved issues, and how hard-fought those issues are, can still dramatically impact your overall Florida divorce cost.
Even if you cannot file for an uncontested divorce, pursuing amicable resolutions can significantly reduce time, expenses, and emotional strain. Alternative approaches, such as divorce mediation and collaborative divorce, present valuable options to minimize attorney fees and overall court costs.
Some things are worth fighting for, and amicable resolutions are not always possible. However, to the extent that you and your spouse can find common ground and reach agreements, you can save time, money, and headache during a challenging process.
If you have concerns about the cost of divorce in Florida, there are alternative options available that can help reduce expenses without hiring a Florida divorce attorney for full-scope representation.
Exploring these lower-cost alternatives can help alleviate concerns about the expense of divorce in Florida while still ensuring you receive the necessary support and guidance during your divorce process.
If both parties to a divorce in Florida agree on all divorce-related issues, you should be able to file for an uncontested divorce. The cost of the divorce will depend on whether you and your ex-spouse hire lawyers.
Without divorce attorney fees, the cost of an uncontested divorce in Florida could be as low as $500, most of which is due to the filing fee of about $410. But if the parties do hire lawyers and there are divorce attorney fees, an uncontested divorce in Florida could still cost thousands of dollars, depending on how complicated or how contentious the divorce process is.
The cheapest way to get a divorce in Florida is typically through an uncontested divorce or a dissolution of marriage. By avoiding the need for court intervention and costly litigation, an uncontested divorce can significantly reduce expenses. To pursue an uncontested divorce, couples can consider options such as mediation or collaborative divorce.
While pursuing the cheapest way to get a divorce in Florida can save on costs, it's essential to prioritize open communication, cooperation, and fairness to ensure a smooth process. Consulting with an experienced family law attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you understand the best approach for your circumstances.
The timeline for a divorce in Florida can vary depending on several factors. On average, an uncontested divorce can be finalized within a few months, typically around three to four months. This timeline assumes that both parties can reach agreements on key issues such as child custody, support, property division, and alimony.
On the other hand, contested divorces, where disputes require court intervention, may take significantly longer, ranging from several months to over a year. The complexity of the case, court availability, and the willingness of both parties to cooperate all impact how long a divorce takes in Florida.
So, how much does a divorce cost in Florida? Here’s what to remember.
The average cost of divorce in Florida was $13,500 without children and $20,300 with children. But every divorce is different, and any given divorce can cost far more or far less than those averages.
When considering how much your Florida divorce might cost, key factors to note include:
An experienced divorce lawyer can be a crucial resource for navigating a challenging and stressful time. But if you cannot afford a Florida divorce attorney, lower-cost legal options include limited scope representation and Legal Aid.
Consider consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer if you still have questions about the cost of divorce in Florida. And if you do, these are the key questions to ask a divorce attorney when you first meet.