Why Does Divorce Take So Long and Cost So Much
Here is an outline of the steps that must be taken by your lawyer when seeking a divorce in the
State of Florida:
1. All of the information regarding family members must be gathered and compiled with
regard to age, financial situation, criminal or domestic violence history. A genogram is
very handy here.
2. This same information must be put in spread sheet form and readied for client
inspection before preparing pleadings to submit to the court. This can take up to two
weeks or more depending on the amount of information and the completeness of the
information provided by the client.
3. Client is invited back to the office to check all financial information and sign off on it
before submission to the court.
4. The next phase involves answers to standard interrogatories. This could also take up
to two weeks.
5. Client submits their answers to us; we review; determine if anything is missing;
determine if anything else needs to be stated; and compile it into a format that will be
acceptable to parties involved and the courts.
6. Attorney and staff analyze all information as to the best strategy in the case; confirm
marital/divorce court history; domestic violence history and credit report.
7. Prepare initial pleadings. This includes the petition for dissolution of marriage;
financial affidavit; UCCJEA and other related documents. Client signs off on everything
in the office making sure all of the information is accurate.
8. Send paperwork to the court. Court issues summons to be sent to the process server
to serve (deliver to) opposing party. Once served opposing party has 20 days to
answer and an additional 5 days for mailing.
9. If the opposing party gets an attorney last minute, the attorney may delay to prepare
and now has to go through all of the above steps with his/her client.
10. The opposing counsel or opposing party may file a counter petition; if this happens,
we now have 20 days to file the answer to the counter petition, plus 5 days for
mailing. To do this, we now have to confer with our client again, to analyze any new
issues that have arisen; and an amended petition may have to be prepared.
11. From the date the first petition is served, each party has 45 days to provide mandatory
disclosure information to the other party and certify to the court that it has been
12. If Mandatory Foreclosure is not provided within the 45 days, the attorneys are subject
to sanctions.
13. After answers to petition and counter petition, mediation may be scheduled.
Depositions ( not normally included in the original retainer) of the parties and/or
witnesses may be required before or after mediation.
14. If complete agreement(covering parental responsibility, equitable distribution of
assets and liabilities, alimony, child support, and every other issue raised by either
party is reached at mediation, the attorney will prepare a proposed final judgment
and other documents such as Income Withholding Order, and Income Deduction
Order, for child support and alimony. The attorney may also coordinate or supervise
preparation of other specialized legal documents needed to divide pensions,
retirement accounts and real estate.
15. If complete agreement is not reached in mediation, additional negotiations may ensue
with opposing party or opposing attorney; the court may order further mediation or it
may be necessary to prepare for trial (also not included in the initial retainer).