When it comes to divorce, the first question couples usually ask is, "How much will the divorce cost?" There is no definitive answer to this question. The thing is, the overall cost can be affected by many factors, including whether or not partners agree on divorce-related terms, whether they hire an attorney, etc.
Even though it's very much on a case-by-case basis, you can estimate the approximate cost of your divorce. So let's dive deeper into this topic.
Average Cost of Divorce in Florida
A Florida divorce cost is difficult to calculate as it depends on the type of issues involved in the case and how those issues are resolved. Things that play the most critical role in determining the amount of money required for divorce include but are not limited to:
- Whether you're using an attorney for your entire divorce or only part of it
- Whether you use online divorce services
- Whether you reach a mutual agreement on divorce issues
- Whether you have minor children
- Whether one of the spouses is asking for spousal support
- Whether you're using mediation or collaborative divorce
- Whether the case goes to trial
According to a survey conducted by Martindale Nolo Research in 2015, the average cost of divorce in Florida is $13,500 without children and $20,300 with children. However, the actual cost of a divorce in this state can vary by tens of thousands of dollars.
The main factor impacting the divorce cost is the ability of both spouses to collaborate and reach an agreement. Unlike people who contest one or more issues in their divorce, couples managing to resolve all major disputes peacefully have the opportunity to save huge amounts of money.
In an uncontested divorce, where you do not expect your partner to disagree with any aspect of the divorce, you can keep the costs relatively low.
In fact, the main advantage of this type of divorce is that you can apply for a marriage dissolution without the assistance of an attorney. Considering that attorney's fees account for the central part of all divorce-related expenses, you can decrease the amount of required money significantly.
On average, the cost of uncontested divorce in Florida is:
- Up to $500 if you prepare and file necessary divorce forms yourself.
- Up to $650 if you use online divorce services to complete the paperwork.
- Approximately $3,000-$5,000 if you hire a divorce law attorney.
Divorce Cost Without a Lawyer
Although going through an uncontested divorce with a lawyer is one of the simplest ways to terminate the marriage in Florida, it is also the most expensive solution. If you strive to achieve an amicable divorce, you can easily initiate this process without a lawyer, saving lots of money and time.
All you need to do is prepare state-specific divorce papers (independently or with the help of an online divorce company), file them with a court, pay filing fees, serve your spouse, and, finally, wait for the judge to grant the divorce.
Each county court in Florida requires payment of a filing fee to process the case. Typically, filing fees vary between $350 and $410 in this state, depending on the county where divorce documents are filed.
If this payment is an extreme financial hardship, you can ask the court to waive it by filing an "Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status."
There are also additional costs during the next step, which is serving the spouse with divorce paperwork. For example, if you hire a process server or ask a county sheriff to serve your spouse, you should be prepared to spend around $50-$100 for these services.
Finally, some counties might charge you about $12-15 for self-representation. As a result, by determining specific features of your divorce, you can estimate the exact amount of money needed to apply for an uncontested divorce in Florida.
How Much is a DIY Divorce in Florida?
A DIY divorce can be considered the cheapest way to terminate a marriage in the state. But, at the same time, it is associated with many disadvantages that should be considered in advance.
A "pure" DIY divorce is the type of divorce where people seek little or no legal help and represent themselves in court. In this case, divorcing spouses go through the main steps of divorce independently, which helps keep spending below $500.
However, DIY divorce is fraught with risks — even if your case is "simple" and both parties agree on all terms.
First, you should have a solid legal background to prepare divorce paperwork correctly and according to local laws and requirements. Otherwise, you will need to spend a vast amount of time researching local family law. Second, there is the potential for improper asset division and resolution of child-related issues.
As an alternative, you can use online DIY divorce. In other words, you have the opportunity to prepare divorce forms with the help of online divorce tools for a fixed one-time payment that usually varies from around $200-400. Most often, the total cost of the whole divorce process does not exceed $650 in this case.
Contested Divorce Cost
A contested divorce is the most complicated type of divorce, requiring considerable financial investments. As mentioned above, the average cost of a traditional divorce is $13,500 without children or $20,300 with children in Florida. But the range is broad, and a lot will depend on:
- Attorney's hourly fee.
- Length of the divorce process.
- Your and your partner's willingness to collaborate.
It is essential to hire a lawyer who has decent experience handling divorce cases, as the proceedings will last for six months in the best-case scenario. In some cases, it can take over a year to finalize a contested divorce.
Plus, you should be comfortable with this person, as you will need to address various issues together, including alimony, property, child support, child custody, etc.
Divorce Lawyer Cost
Local divorce law attorneys typically charge between $260 and $330 per hour, depending on their experience, location, and specifics of your case.
Before taking the case, specialists in family law usually request an upfront payment, also known as a retainer. Although this payment varies from case to case, it is often between $2,000 and $5,000. After paying a retainer fee to cover legal services over a certain period of time, you will need to release multiple other retainers.
In the end, there is no limit to the potential expenses you might incur.
Divorce Online in Florida
Thanks to the advancement of Internet technologies, modern society has the opportunity to serve a variety of essential tasks online. For instance, residents of Florida can prepare all necessary documents for no-fault, uncontested divorces over the Internet.
With Online Florida Divorce, all you have to do is complete a simple marriage-related questionnaire on our website and follow further instructions. Within only two business days, you can download ready-to-sign divorce forms, along with a clear filing guide, for as little as $139. Then, you can bring the completed divorce paperwork to the Circuit Court Clerk's office in the county where you (or your spouse) have resided for at least six months.
This type of divorce is extremely popular in the state due to its benefits, such as:
1. Reduced costs.
With online divorce platforms, you can generate divorce forms for around $200, whereas attorneys will usually charge at least several thousand dollars for the same task.
2. Saved time.
Preparation of divorce documents online does not take more than two business days, while lawyers need a minimum of 1-2 weeks to complete a full set of necessary forms. In the context of a "pure" DIY divorce, you will also need at least several weeks to research family law and fill out appropriate papers.
By using online divorce services, you can prepare divorce documentation from the comfort of your home at your own pace. If you hire an attorney, you can expect to attend multiple meetings to discuss all divorce-related terms.
Accordingly, if you need to arrive at a swift and affordable dissolution of your marriage, you should make your divorce uncontested and use online divorce services to complete your paperwork.