Many consultations we have are with people trying to determine their options, should they move forward with filing for divorce. Many people struggle with the decision to file, understandably so. There are many things to consider when contemplating a divorce.
1) Cost: In 2016, the average cost of a divorce in Florida was $13,500 and took approximately 15 months. Of course, these figures change based upon the facts of the case. Generally speaking, the longer the case goes on, the higher the cost of the divorce. Cases will drag on when parties cannot come to an agreement on the issues of their case, such as timesharing, distributing assets, alimony, etc. If the case goes to trial, a party can expect to pay approximately $8,000.00 to $10,000.00 in attorney's fees. If a party is trying to decide whether to file for divorce, the cost aspect is a serious consideration.
2) Could counseling save the marriage? All couples go through seasons in life that are particularly frustrating. It's possible that parties are going through a rough patch.
Generally speaking, a few reasons for divorce boil down to matters such as communication issues, adultery/dishonesty, addiction and financial issues. The question is whether the parties are willing to work through their issues. This is a question that can only be answered through reflection, and possible counseling. If the parties attend counseling and still feel the marriage is broken, it might be time to file. If one party is willing to attend counseling but the other party is not, it might be time to file. If neither party is willing to attend counseling, it might be time to file. Why is this question of counseling so important? Because if the case settles, one party will attend a Final Hearing before the Judge. The party will provide testimony to the Judge regarding the marriage. One of the questions asked is if the Judge ordered the parties to counseling, would it repair or save the marriage. A party must be able to answer honestly that no amount of counseling would repair or save the marriage.
3) What if I start the divorce process and change my mind? If, during the course of the divorce proceeding, the parties decide they would like to reconcile, they have the option of dismissing their case. They will not be refunded the filing fees paid to the county, but they are free to dismiss the action prior to the Judge signing the Final Judgment. Once the Judge signs the Final Judgment, the parties are officially divorced.
Divorce can sometimes be averted, but when it can't, we are here to help. If you are considering divorce, schedule a consultation with us to see how we can help you navigate through what can be a very difficult time.