Divorce FAQs

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Divorce?

Even divorces with minimal conflict can be complicated. You may think that you and your spouse are in agreement about major points including financial settlements, property and children. It is important that an experienced advocate review your settlement and work independently on your behalf to ensure that your immediate and future rights are secured.

Will I Have to Pay All My Attorney’s Fees and Some of My Spouse’s Attorney’s Fees?

In Florida divorces, the court has the authority to order a party to pay some or all of the attorney’s fees and litigation costs of the other spouse. The purpose of such orders is to make sure that both parties have access to quality legal representation to level the playing field, so that the party who has more assets or income cannot overwhelm the other spouse. If you feel you cannot pay an attorney to represent you, you should still check with a family law attorney to see if that is really the case. There usually are ways that we can quickly obtain funds from the other side so that you can have appropriate representation to pursue your rights.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce?

It depends. A divorce in Florida can take as little as 20 days (from the date of filing to the final hearing). These cases are rare and are usually uncontested. It is more common to see a divorce case lasting 4 months to 2 years. How quickly the divorce case is over will depend on how agreeable the parties are, the lawyers involved, whether discovery deadlines are met, the judge’s availability and whether the case settles or goes to trial.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

The filing fee for a divorce is $401.00. In some cases, this fee can be waived if a spouse is indigent. A process of service fee is added to the cost of a divorce, if your spouse doesn’t agree to accept service. If the sheriff or a private process server has to bring the divorce papers to your spouse, the cost starts at $40. International process of service fees cost hundreds of dollars. If you cannot locate your spouse and you have to put an ad in the newspaper, the cost is about $200. In addition, if you decide to hire an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected, the hourly attorney rate ranges from $150 to $500 an hour. When the case is predictable, the attorney may be able to quote you a flat fee instead of an hourly rate.

Will I Be Able to Get Full Custody of Our Children?

When parents separate, this is usually the number one question on their minds. It is not easy to get full custody of your children and shut the other parent out of the children’s lives because your marriage did not work. Parents who were rearing their children together are more likely to get shared custody. An absent parent or one who has abused, abandoned, or neglected the children will have a much tougher time proving the case that his/her involvement is in the “best interests of the children.” In some cases, the court will grant supervised visitation to allow a questionable parent to build a relationship with the child and if these visits go well, this parent can work himself/herself up to unsupervised overnight visits.

Do I Have to Go to Court?

There is at least one court appearance in a divorce case. This is the final hearing and the spouse who filed the divorce will have to go. If the respondent spouse filed a counter-petition, then the petitioner spouse will not have to appear at an uncontested final hearing. However, if a spouse wants to change his/her name, that spouse will have to attend the final hearing, regardless of whether he/she filed the case. There can be more court appearances, depending on how much litigation is involved.

How Will a Divorce Affect My Immigration Case?

This is a very complex question that cannot be answered completely in a few lines. It depends on where you are in the immigration process. If you have an adjustment of status case pending, a divorce will almost certainly result in the denial of your application. You may be able to file an abused spouse petition and still get the green card. If you have a two-year green card, you will need a divorce waiver to remove the conditions. A divorce poses less risk to a ten-year green card holder.

When Will I Get My Name Changed?

Your name will be changed at the final hearing. You will be given a copy of the Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage with your new name stated in the document. You will then submit this to the Social Security office and you will get a new social security card with your new name. The social security number will be the same. You can then submit an application to change you name on your driver’s license and passport.

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