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By the time you or your loved one has come to the difficult decision to divorce, the last thing you want to think about is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, for example, you may be able to complete the process online.
Here’s what you need to know to get started in Florida: the requirements, the costs and paths you can take to complete your divorce.
To get a divorce in Florida, you or your spouse must have:
If you meet the residency requirement, you or your spouse can initiate the divorce process by filing a divorce petition.
In Florida, you do not need to prove any wrongdoing on your spouse’s part to get a divorce — in other words, you can pursue a no-fault divorce. But you must show that the other party is mentally incapacitated or the marriage is irretrievably broken.
If a minor child or the other party disputes that the marriage is not permanently broken, the court may take measures to try to reconcile the marriage.
Whether you need to go to court depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Before you and your spouse can be divorced, you both need to reach an agreement on the divorce terms.
If you don’t agree on the terms, your divorce is contested. In this case, the issues you and your spouse disagree on may need to be settled in court.
Even if you and your spouse disagree on some issues, you don’t necessarily need to go to court. Here are a few alternative paths:
You can find more information about mediation and collaborative divorce at the Florida Courts website.
An uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree on the terms, and you don’t have to appear in court. It’s possible to complete your divorce by drafting an agreement and filling out the appropriate forms, then sending them to the court.
There are various ways to complete an uncontested divorce, including:
Online divorce services are best for couples who can agree on the terms of the divorce, including division of assets, alimony and parental responsibilities if you have children.
It will cost you approximately $400 to file your divorce petition with the court. You may pay additional court fees, depending on your county.
Additional costs for your divorce will vary depending on which route you take to resolve it. Here are approximate costs for various paths.
Preparing your divorce yourself will cost little to nothing besides additional court fees you may need to pay. However, the process takes more time, because you’ll need to conduct your own research and ensure you’ve correctly filled out the divorce forms.
Depending on the online divorce service you use and how much assistance you need, you could expect to pay anywhere between $150 to $1,500. However, some high-end services can run you upwards of $3,000.
Costs vary depending on the benefits offered. For example, some services only help you prepare the right forms; others provide tutorials, professional review of your documents and spousal-support plans.
According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average cost for a divorce in Florida is between $11,000 and $14,000 when hiring divorce attorneys.
If your divorce is relatively simple, the cost will be around a few thousand dollars at a minimum. For complicated divorces — like those involving child custody — the cost could be as high as $23,000.
Typically, lawyers will bill you hourly — between $260 and $333 per hour on average. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee for your divorce.
By law, it will take at least 20 days before a divorce is finalized. The clock starts when you file your petition with the court.
A divorce may take longer than 20 days, depending on the complexity of issues in the divorce and how much you and your spouse can agree on the terms.
Issues that could lengthen the divorce process include:
According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average divorce takes 12 months to complete with divorce attorneys. Whether you have children with your spouse affects this timing: about 11 months if no children and about 15 months if children are involved.
If you and your spouse agree on most issues, the details of your divorce could be settled relatively quickly. For example, an online service for uncontested divorces can help a couple come to a resolution in as little as a month. But by law, it takes 20 days before the marriage is legally ended.
Online divorce services are for couples who can work together on divorce terms and who agree on most issues. To use one, you need to:
Online divorce services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers make it easy to quickly get the divorce process rolling.
While the signup process may vary by service, in general you’ll:
If you’ve signed up for an online divorce service, you will be presented with the divorce forms you need to complete. You will also be given instructions on how to file the documents with your local court.
Rest assured that your online service will guide you from the beginning to the end of the divorce process, when you can move on to healing.
Professional legal guidance can help alleviate some of the stress when navigating the divorce process.
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