If you are the process of divorcing in Florida, you may be curious as to how much it costs to retain an attorney. According to a recent survey, the average cost is around $13,500, and this includes a little over $10,000 in attorneys’ fees.
The survey also found that the average hourly rate charged by Florida divorce lawyers is about $260 per hour. However, that ranges from about $150 per hour to as high as $450 per hour. Most Florida attorneys bill on an hourly basis.
The remainder of the costs include the filing fees, mediation and cost of copying and serving documents. Other expenses include expert witnesses and financial analysts.
Factors that Contribute to the Costs
There are a number of different factors that contribute to the overall costs of divorce in Florida. Divorces where the spouses are able to agree on most concerns cost less than those where there are many disputed issues.
Child Custody Disagreements
A Florida divorce where child custody issues are involved can be expensive. The survey results state that cases that involve child support and custody issues cost about $20,000 to resolve, and this includes over $17,000 in attorneys’ fees. Divorces without children involved cost about $13,200.
Taking Your Case to Trial
If your divorce is going all the way to trial, there is a tremendous increase in cost. This is because the attorney must spend a good majority of his time preparing paperwork for trial, interviewing witnesses and preparing opening and closing statements. The added costs of expert witness testimony are added to the overall cost of your divorce.
The Length of the Divorce Process
There is no long, mandatory waiting process in Florida like there is in other states, but there are a number of factors that may contribute to a lengthy divorce process in Florida. When a couple has minor children, sometimes courts like to wait to see if the couple will reconcile. The survey concluded that Florida divorces that involved minor children took about 17 months to complete, and that’s seven months longer than the average divorce.
Also, if the divorce goes to trial, the survey showed that it took an average of 17.5 months to complete from start to finish.
In some instances, if the couple has no minor children, they may be able to expedite the divorce process, known as a simplified dissolution. The couple must have an agreement as to how to divide the assets and debts, and neither spouse can request alimony.