WHAT DOES AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE COST?
The cost for your uncontested divorce will depend upon one or more of the following:
- Whether you use a document preparation service to prepare your forms
- Whether you or your spouse hire a lawyer
- Whether you and your spouse need mediation to help you come to an agreement
- Whether you and your spouse have documented your agreements in writing
In general, when working with a lawyer to help you, you should expect your uncontested divorce to cost somewhere between $1,500 and $5000. The lawyer you choose may or may not include the Clerk of Court required filing fee. That fee is typically about $400. So expect to pay the Clerk’s filing fee on top of the fee you will pay your lawyer. Your total attorney’s fee will also be dependent upon whether you have children. If you have minor children, you will also need a formal Parenting Plan document prepared.
HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
The first condition you must meet to qualify for any divorce in Florida is that you or your spouse must reside in Florida for at least six (6) months prior to filing a petition for divorce.
The second condition you must meet is grounds for a divorce or a legal reason justifying a divorce. Fault is not required. The most common reason is that your marriage is irretrievably broken. This simply means that there is nothing that can be done to save the marriage. The other ground for divorce which is less common is that your spouse is mentally incapacitated.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS?
STEP 1 – You get the required forms to complete. They are all online and available to you free of charge. Or, you can hire a lawyer to handle your uncontested divorce for you. Our Flat Fee for a full representation starts as low as $2,500 and includes the court’s filing fee. We also offer limited representation for services such as ghost writing, editing, advice and coaching to help you complete the process, starting as low as $500.
STEP 2 – Once all of your documents are prepared, file them with the Clerk of Courts in your county and pay the required filing fee. The filing fee divorce varies by county and is usually around $400.
WHAT IF YOU I CHILDREN?
You can have an uncontested divorce even if you have children. It might increase the cost compared to a similar family with no children because a Parenting Plan is required that details your custody and visitation agreements. You will also need child support calculations and a Florida Child Support Guidelines Worksheet for the judge to review.
You will be required to complete a parenting course and file the certificate of completion.
IF we have ASSETS CAN we still GET AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
Yes. As long as you and your spouse agree about how to divide your property and debt, you can get an uncontested divorce.
is it required to retain a LAWYER FOR AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
Hiring a lawyer is not required. However, it is usually a good idea.
You can hire a lawyer to simply review your agreements and advise you about your rights, duties, and responsibilities under Florida law. You could also hire a lawyer to handle only certain part of your uncontested divorce, such as preparing your Marital Settlement Agreement or filing all of your documents and getting the judge’s signature on a Final Judgment.
If you are having some trouble negotiating with your spouse, you could also hire a lawyer to help you with the negotiations.
WHEN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE IS NOT A GOOD OPTION?
If you have a complex situation and are arguing about issues like custody, visitation, alimony, or child support, an uncontested divorce may not be a viable option for you.
If your relationship has a significant power imbalance with your spouse having substantial dominance and control over you, an uncontested divorce may not be a good choice.
If you have a history of domestic violence in your marital relationship, it will be incredibly difficult for you to negotiate effectively with your abusive spouse. So an uncontested divorce will likely not be a good choice for you.
HOW DOES VISITATION WORK IN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
Visitation, also known as “Time Sharing,” works the same way as in any other divorce. You and your spouse have to agree to a visitation schedule for each of your children. Your visitation agreements should specify things like the following:
- when will each child spend time with mom
- when will each child spend time with dad
- at what time and what days will an exchange of the children take place and where will it take place
- who will have the children for each holiday
- who will have the children during school breaks, such as Winter Break, Spring Break, and Summer
DO I HAVE TO DISCLOSE MY FINANCES IN AN UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
If you and your spouse have no children, reach agreement on how to divide your property, and neither of you is requesting permanent financial relief from the court, then you can avoid having to file a Financial Affidavit.
You can also waive what is called “Mandatory Disclosure.” Mandatory Disclosure refers to the Florida rule that requires each spouse to exchange a long list of financial documents with each other.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF UNCONTESTED DIVORCE TO CHOOSE FROM?
Yes. Florida provides two options.
The first option is called a “Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.” This is available to married couples who do not have any minor children and neither of them is seeking alimony from the other. In addition, neither spouse can be pregnant. Furthermore, both of you must agree to use this divorce option and you must have a complete agreement that your marriage is irretrievably broken and how to divide your property and debt.
The second option is a regular dissolution of marriage that is going to proceed as “uncontested.”
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