SIMPLIFIED DIVORCE FAQ
What is a Simplified Divorce?
A simplified divorce, sometimes referred to as a “kitchen table divorce” is a process whereby the parties discuss and agree upon all issues involved in their case. After resolving the issues of how to divide up their assets and liabilities, a plan for co-parenting their children and any issues of support, they need assistance with drafting all of the paperwork necessary to complete the process, presenting the paperwork to the court and obtaining the Final Judgment.
How does the Simplified Divorce work?
When the parties have come to an agreement regarding resolution of the issues of their case, the meet with me to provide all of the details and discuss the terms of their agreement. I will review all of the information necessary to complete a Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan, Financial Affidavits and other documents to be provided to the court. Following the meeting I prepare the documents necessary and e-mail them to both parties for their review. At that time, the parties may choose have the agreements reviewed by their own separate attorneys to ensure the parties fully understand the full legal ramifications of the agreements. If any changes are required, the parties can notify me by return e-mail. Once the documents are finalized, I meet with the parties for a final review and signing of the documents. I then scan the documents into the computer to file them with the Court. The following day the Court will provide a case number and the final documents are forwarded to the Judge with a proposed Final Judgment for the Court to consider and finalize.
How long does the process take?
Generally the entire process can be completed in less than three week. It may take longer if the parties have the documents independently reviewed by counsel or if changes are necessary after the initial drafting.
Do we each have to have our own attorneys review the documents?
I am a Board Certified Marital & Family Lawyer. I have over 18 years of experience drafting Marital Settlement Agreements and Parenting Plans. However, with the Simplified Divorce Process, I am not providing legal advice to either party. As an attorney, I am not allowed to represent both parties in a divorce or provide legal advice to both parties. Therefore, under this process I am hired for the limited purpose of preparing the documents and obtaining the Final Judgment of Dissolution. I will discuss the process and answer questions about the process with clients but I cannot provide legal advice.
What documents do we need to bring to our initial meeting?
You should bring the Client Intake Sheet to the meeting. In addition, it is helpful to bring at least a draft of a Financial Affidavit for each party. We will work on the Financial Affidavit during the meeting but a review of this document prior to the meeting will make preparation during the meeting easier. If you have the title to any real estate owned you may want to bring this, although it is not necessary. You do not need to bring additional supporting documents to the meeting. However, you should review all supporting documents such as bank statements, credit card statements, loan documents, car titles, etc. with each other to ensure you both have a full understanding of your financial situation and agreement as to the distribution of assets and liabilities. If children are involved in your case you should also bring the Parenting Questionnaire with you.
How much does a simplified divorce cost?
I charge a flat fee for simplified procedures. The fee is paid at the initial meeting as I will then be preparing and providing all of the documents to the clients at the conclusion of the initial meeting. The costs are as follows:
- Simplified divorce without children: $1,500
- Simplified divorce with children / paternity action: $2,000
These fees are for the two meetings, preparation of all documents and simple corrections. If the parties have significant changes or re-negotiations after the initial documents are prepared, there may be an additional charge. My hourly rate for this is $250 per hour. In addition, the parties pay the filing fee and recording fee to be paid to the court. These total $420. This fee can be paid at the time that the documents are executed and ready to be filed with the court.
Why not just use a Paralegal / Document Preparation Service?
There are many services in Florida that will provide assistance with preparing the “documents” for a quick divorce. You should be aware that these services are provided by paralegals with no legal experience. They are limited to filing in Supreme Court approved forms which are often not sufficient to completely resolve all of the issues of the divorce. In addition, the paralegals are not able to file the case with the court and obtain the Final Judgment. Once the forms are prepared, the packet is provided back to the client and it is up to the parties to file the case, be cleared by the court administration and then present their case to the court. All of this is avoided with the simplified divorce process that I provide. I will ensure that all of the issues necessary to resolve your case are discussed, agreed to and included in your Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan. I will also ensure that the Court has all of the documents necessary to finalize your case. The entire process can be completed in two to six weeks without the need for a court appearance.