Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Florida Most Expensive State to File Divorce

I read online recently that Florida is the most expensive State to File for Divorce in. Here are the top ten:

10. Tennessee, $302

9. Utah, $310

8. Pennsylvania, $317

7. Arizona, $321

6. Louisiana, $324

5. New York, $335

4. Illinois, $337

3. California, $395

2. Minnesota, $402

1. Florida, $409

The price is actually higher than that because everything is electronically filed now and if you pay with a credit card, there is a built in "convenience fee". If it is a contested divorce, you are also charged $10.00 for the Court to issue a summons, which means that a contested divorce in Florida actually costs $430.00 to file. Meanwhile, Judges' dockets are more full, clerk's offices are staffed less and attorneys' are charging more per hour for their services. Divorce is definitely expensive, and when you tack on more and more clerk's fees and filing costs, even without a lawyer, a divorce can cost you $1,000.00 or more. I don't think that the cost of the filing of a divorce will stop people from doing it, but its definitely good to know what the costs are before you decide to move forward with a divorce. When consulting with an attorney and they quote you a price for a retainer, make sure that you ask whether the filing fee is included.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Same Sex Divorce Not Granted in Tampa, Florida

In March I blogged about a case in Tampa, Florida wherein a gay couple was wishing to have a divorce granted by a Judge. The couple was married in Massachusetts and had a valid marriage in Massachusetts. They moved to Florida and are now residents of the State of Florida. They came to settlement terms and simply requested that the Judge ratify their agreement and grant them their divorce. The Tampa Judge declined to grant them a divorce based upon the premise that Florida does not recognize their marriage, therefore, a divorce is an impossibility. Therefore, because of different state residency laws as it relates to obtaining a divorce, unless the parties were to establish residency in a State that recognizes their marriage, they will still be married. The decision of the trial court will, of course, be appealed. I will continue to follow this case and provide my readers with updates about the case, but I presume that if at some point the appellate court, or the State Supreme Court overturn the ruling of the trial court, this will open many doors for gay couples in Florida to dissolve their marriages if they so choose. There is no question that laws are different from state to state, and what may good law in one state, may not be good law in another. How is this particular issue resolved when under most circumstances, you most be a resident of the State in which you are seeking a divorce to be granted a divorce? I'm sure this couple is not the only couple within the United States to have this issue and I'm interesting to know how other states have handled it. I guess we'll stay tuned. The reality is that if the appellate process overturns the result of the trial court there will be precedence that Florida recognizes same sex marriages that were solemnized in a state that allows same sex unions.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Same Sex Marriage and Divorce in Florida?

Every now and then I come across an article that I think is interesting to the masses and not only to those people who believe that a divorce or separation is imminent. Today in Hillsborough County a same sex couple is attempting to dissolve their union that was solemnized in Massachusetts a few years ago. They have come to an agreement and are seeking an uncontested dissolution of their marriage. This is difficult and ground breaking because Florida does not recognize same sex marriages.

There is a real problem in this country when some states allow same sex marriages or unions and the couple then relocates to another state that does not recognize their union. They would not be able to get divorced in the State in which they were married because they are no longer residents of that state and they will not be allowed to divorce in their new state because the new state doesn't recognize their marriage. This is a very real logistical problem that Florida and other states that do not recognize same sex marriage are going to be faced with if they haven't faced this issue already. It'll be interesting to see what happens in Hillsborough County and whether or not this issue gets all the way to the Supreme Court of Florida. While there is a ban on same sex unions, there is a question about recognizing those unions that were created in other states. We live in a very transient society and as people move around, this issue is going to come up more and more and sooner rather than later the legislature and the courts are going to have to figure out what to do.