How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?
Going through a divorce can be stressful and complex for everyone involved, especially in the state of Florida. Understanding the associated costs is essential for anyone considering filing for a divorce in the Sunshine State. In this blog, we will provide an overview of the likely costs associated with filing for a divorce in Florida and discuss some strategies to help you keep them as low as possible.
The Average Cost of a Divorce in Florida
The average cost of a Florida uncontested divorce can range from under $500 up to $5,000. If you do not retain an attorney or use an online service, you should expect to pay about $410 in filing fees and an addition $15 (in some counties) for self-representation.
You will also have to pay about $50-$100 to retain someone to serve your spouse your papers. If you retain counsel, which is advisable as they can help you avoid costly divorce mistakes, filing uncontested may be on the higher end of the $500-$5,000 range.
Contested divorces are more costly than uncontested divorces, and in Florida, the average cost of a contested divorce ranges from $7,000 to $30,000. The cost can vary based on the length of the proceedings and each party’s willingness to compromise.
Factors that Can Impact the Cost of Your Divorce
How much your divorce cost can also vary based on factors outside of whether you file contested or uncontested. Other factors that can affect the cost of your divorce include:
- Attorney fees/fee structure
- Court costs and filing fees
- Divorce mediation services
- Valuation expenses
- Childcare costs during the divorce process
- Moving costs (if applicable)
Ways You Can Pay for Your Divorce
Here are a few ways that you can cover your divorce-related expenses:
- Use personal savings. If you have personal savings, those funds can be used to pay for your divorce. You should just be mindful of your budget and how your divorce may impact your income and savings ability once your divorce is finalized.
- Use a credit card. While you should be mindful of your revolving utilization (as that impacts your credit score), using credit cards to cover divorce-related expenses is a possibility. However, you should be mindful of your interests rates, especially in relation to your income and post-divorce budget.
- Borrow money from friends and family. Worthy magazine reports that this is one of the most common ways that people pay for a divorce. When compiling their list of ways to pay for divorce, they ran a poll asking women to share how they paid for divorce and borrowing money from family was the top response.
- Take out a 401K loan. If you are employed and participate in your company’s 401K program, you can take out a loan or some of the funds in that account.
- Take out a personal loan. Some people get personal loans to fund their divorce; again, be mindful of the interest rate.
- Use your joint account. If you have a joint marital bank account, you may consider using funds from that account to file. However, you should consult with an attorney about this method as you should know what is legally allowable.
- Cash out your retirement account. Similarly to taking out funds from your 401K, you can take out funds from retirement savings accounts.
- Get creative. Recently, actress Christina Ricci shared that she sold Chanel bags and jewelry to fund her divorce. If you have valuable items or other non-traditional ideas to obtain funds, you can use those methods to pay for your divorce and related expenses.
How to Financially Prepare for Divorce
- Start budgeting now. Having an idea of what divorce can cost, you can set aside a savings account to cover any divorce-related expenses. After your initial consultation with a divorce attorney, they can also give you more concrete numbers concerning their fees and can tell you what other experts you may need, which can help you incorporate that cost in your overall budget as well.
- Make copies of all important financial documents. You attorney can subpoena/petition these documents be shared but having it upfront can be helpful. You should ensure you have access to bank accounts, credit cards, tax returns, investments, and insurance policies.
- Research different legal options. Consider whether medication, collaborative divorce can are right for you rather than immediately heading for litigation. These alternative divorce methods can help you file uncontested, which we know is less expensive than filing contested and gives you/couple more autonomy.
- Assemble a financial team for advice. Forensic accounts, CPAs, and others can tell you how to handle the assets acquired during marriage and debts, warn you about potential financial consequences of decisions, valuate businesses and other high value assets, etc.
- Consult with friends who have gone through a divorce. They can offer you advice, which you should take with grain of salt as each divorce case is unique. However, they can tell you what they experienced so you have a better idea of what pitfalls you should avoid.
Consult with Our Attorney
Divorce can be an expensive process and the financial costs can add up quickly. It is important to be prepared by having a plan in place to cover your expenses. By budgeting ahead of time and discussing potential costs with your attorney, you can make sure that the financial pain of divorce is minimized. With careful planning and the help of an experienced, you can make it through the divorce process with a minimal amount of financial damage.
Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office is committed to helping clients understand the financial implications of divorce-related decisions. Our attorney can advise you concerning the best steps to protect yourself financially and can help with financially complex cases, such as high-asset or high-net-worth divorces. We also have forensic accounting services available for our clients.
To start financially preparing yourself for divorce and discuss your case with our attorney, schedule an initial consultation today by calling (727) 312-1112.