Splitting up assets during a divorce can be contentious. Both sides want to fight to get what they feel is fair and due to them. Battling over splitting up assets is normal. Splitting up assets valued at $142 billion is not.

That is the case for Bill and Melinda Gates who announced on May 3rd, 2021 that they are divorcing after 27 years of marriage. The announcement led to many questions about their marriage. Why now? What happened? How long has the divorce been in the works?

But one of the more interesting questions about their marriage may be, What will happen to their $142 billion fortune?

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

To see what might happen to their assets, let’s look at how assets are divided in a typical divorce. In Florida, the law requires a fair and equitable division of marital assets in a divorce.

Marital assets that are fairly divided include:

  • Assets acquired during the marriage
  • Some retirement benefits acquired during the marriage
  • The enhanced value and appreciation of non-marital assets
  • Gifts given during the marriage

Assets divided during a divorce typically do not include non-marital assets which refer to:

  • Assets acquired before the marriage
  • Assets acquired through inheritance during the marriage
  • Assets acquired through a non-spousal gift during the marriage

Couples can determine how to split their marital assets through agreements and/or divorce mediation. Or, they may already have a plan for splitting up their assets in the form of a prenuptial agreement.

If the couple can’t determine how to split up assets, a judge may intervene. The judge will base their decision off equitable distribution. But, that doesn’t always mean the split will be 50/50.

When determining how to split assets, the court will consider details such as:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The economic conditions of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the other’s education or career advancement
  • Each spouse’s contribution to improving marital or non-marital assets
  • Each spouse’s contribution as a partner or homemaker
  • Wrongful conduct during the marriage
  • Waste or depletion of assets caused by one party

So, what does all of this mean for Bill and Melinda Gates?

How Will $142 Billion Be Divided?

Bill and Melinda Gates started dating in 1987, one year after Microsoft (the company founded by Gates) went public. The couple married in 1994, at a time when it was reported that Bill was the richest person in the United States with more than $9 billion.

Bill Gates was a billionaire when he and Melinda married, but they did not sign a prenup.

With no prenup, the couple or the courts will determine how to split their $142 billion (as valued by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index).

It’s worth noting that the laws regarding divorce in Washington state may differ from the divorce laws in Florida. The couple’s primary residence is a home in the Seattle suburbs so their case was filed in Washington state and will abide by laws in that state.

But, regardless of where their case is filed, it appears that the couple has done their best to keep their divorce out of the courts as much as possible.

The Petition for Divorce filed by Melinda includes language that states, “to divide real property as set forth in our separation contract” under the real property, personal property, debts, and spousal support section of the document. It appears that prior to the divorce and outside of the court system, Bill and Melinda created a separation contract pursuant to Washington law RCW 26.09.070.

Under RCW 26.09.070, couples “may enter into a written separation contract providing for the maintenance of either of them, the disposition of any property owned by both or either of them, the parenting plan and support for their children and for the release of each other from all obligation except that expressed in the contract.”

With reports that Melinda has been meeting with divorce attorneys since 2019, it isn’t surprising that the couple has already worked through the details of splitting their assets outside of the court system. It also appears that the couple is already at work dividing their assets. Bill has transferred around $2 billion in stock to Melinda since the announcement of their divorce.

So, how will a divorce divide up the $142 billion fortune of Bill and Melinda Gates?

Under this agreement, it appears that the public may never know how the assets are split, and the courts won’t have a say in the division.

Related: What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served? 

Simplifying Asset Division During a Divorce

The divorce announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates came shortly after another high-profile divorce announcement. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West recently announced their divorce, prompting questions about how the couple would split up their combined net worth of approximately $2.1 billion.

But like Bill and Melinda, Kayne and Kim seem to have used agreements (in their case, a prenup) to avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Both cases show the value of having a plan going into a divorce. Being able to make decisions out of court is how couples have the best chance at spending less money on the divorce as well as less time in court.

Related: How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce, see how you can make a plan to simplify your asset division by working with an experienced divorce attorney. Contact TJ Grimaldi for a free consultation to discuss the details of your separation. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

Going through a divorce can be complicated. It takes on another level of complexity when it involves two incredibly famous people, four children, billions of dollars of assets, and a massive public audience.

This is the situation for Kim Kardashian and Kayne West as they navigate a divorce after nearly seven years of marriage.

After months of public dramas and speculation about their split, news broke that the megastars were calling it quits on February 19, 2021. This left many people wondering what the split would mean for their shared empire and large family.

Let’s look at a few of the factors that matter in every divorce case and what they might mean for Kim and Kayne.

3 Major Legal Considerations for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s Divorce

Kim and Kanye have a primary residence in Hidden Hills, California which would make California the appropriate venue for their divorce proceedings.

It’s important to note that states and counties may have different laws and procedures for divorce cases. While Kim and Kayne’s case will be officially processed by rules of California law, the information in this article will primarily reflect the rules of Florida law.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Florida 

There are three major considerations for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s divorce case.

#1) Prenups

A prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is a legal document that outlines the rights and obligations of each spouse. It is signed before the marriage becomes official and may include details related to:

  • How the couple will control and manage assets and debts during the marriage
  • Who will be responsible for controlling and managing assets and debts during the marriage
  • How assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce
  • How much alimony should be paid in the event of a divorce

Prenups primarily cover financial interests. Child custody and parenting agreements cannot be included in a prenup in Florida or California.

Considering that Kayne and Kim both came into their marriage with millions of dollars of their own assets (and it was Kim’s third marriage), it is not surprising that the couple signed a prenup before their marriage. According to reports, Kim and Kayne signed a prenup that stated:

  • Kim and Kayne would each keep the individual assets they had when they entered the marriage
  • Kim and Kayne would both keep the individual assets they acquired during their marriage
  • Kim would receive $1 million for each year she was married to Kayne (capped at $10 million)
  • Their primary residence would be in Kim’s name
  • Kim would keep all of the jewelry and gifts given to her by Kayne

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

Kim and Kanye have a combined net worth of approximately $2.1 billion, according to some estimates. In divorce cases, the details of breaking up assets of this size could take months, or even years to work out, but their prenup has made it easier to go through this process.

#2) Splitting Assets

In Florida, the splitting of assets is typically as close to 50/50 as possible. Florida is an “Equitable Distribution State.” Most marital assets are split evenly while also considering:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The economic conditions of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the other’s education or career advancement
  • Wrongful conduct during the marriage
  • Waste or depletion of assets caused by one party

Couples can work together or through divorce mediation to agree upon terms for splitting their assets. If they can’t come to terms, a judge will decide for them.

Related: How to Prepare for Divorce Meditation 

Because Kim and Kayne have a prenup, they won’t need to spend much time splitting up assets. The division of most of their assets was outlined in their prenup. But, according to Forbes, they do have a few large assets that will need to be divided including a number of homes and “$5 million in art, nearly $4 million in vehicles, $3.2 million in jewelry and even $300,000 worth of livestock that could be co-owned by the couple.”

Those assets will need to be divided by the couple or determined by a court order.

#3) Child Custody & Support

A divorce that involves children requires outlining details for both child custody and support. Parents can seek joint or sole custody for:

  • Legal custody which gives a parent the right to make legal decisions for the child.
  • Physical custody which gives a parent the right to have the child live with them.

Child custody can be agreed upon by the parents. If no agreement can be made, a judge will create a child custody agreement. Child support works in a similar way. Parents can come to an agreement on their own. If they can’t, the courts will intervene and set a plan. In Florida, the amount for child support is determined using an “Income Share Model” that considers each parent’s income.

According to reports, Kim asked for joint legal and physical custody of their four children. Under these terms, both Kim and Kayne would share legal and physical custody.

Kim’s divorce filing also says she does not seek child or spousal support. Kayne agreed to both the custody and support terms, so it appears that the issue of child custody and support will not be a hurdle to get over as they move toward finalizing their divorce.

Related: 5 Types of Child Custody and What They Mean for Your Family   

What Are the Legal Implications of Your Divorce Case?

Even with a seemingly complex divorce case in front of them, it appears that Kim and Kayne utilized the right planning and approach to make their divorce as simple as possible.

If you are getting ready to go through a divorce of your own, you need to consider how a prenup, splitting up assets, and child custody will impact your case. To discuss the details of your case and what to expect, talk to a divorce attorney today.

Contact TJ Grimaldi to get advice about the legal implications of your case and to find someone who can help you make the process as smooth as possible. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

Going through a divorce can be a challenging experience. The process can be both personally taxing and procedurally confusing. This is why you want to have the best divorce attorney by your side during the process.

Finding the right attorney starts with asking the right questions. Before you hire representation, learn as much as you can about the attorney and the team who will be fighting for you.

Start with these nine questions to ask a divorce attorney before hiring them.

9 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney Before Hiring Them

#1) What experience do you have with similar divorce cases?

Start by getting an overview of the attorney’s experience with divorce cases, particularly those that are similar to yours. For example, if children are involved in your separation, ask the attorney to share past experience setting up custody agreements and child support.

#2) Will you be the attorney I work with?

In some situations, you may meet with an attorney for your initial meeting and then never work with them again. Many law offices have a few attorneys who act as the face of the firm but don’t actually work directly with clients. Once you hire the firm, you work with a variety of other attorneys and legal assistants rather than the attorney you initially met with.

Related: Find The Best Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

#3) Who else will I be working with?

If the attorney says they will work directly with you, find out who else will be involved. Many attorneys have a team. Find out who the team is, how they will be involved, and what experience they have. Consider asking if you can meet them as well. If you are going to be working with others, you should also get to know them before making a decision.

#4) How often and how will we communicate?

Communication between you and your attorney will be key in navigating your divorce. Find out what the communication plan will look like. Get insights into:

  • How often you will meet to discuss your case
  • What is the best method for communicating (email, text, phone, etc.)
  • How long it will typically take for the attorney to get back to you
  • What to do in case of an emergency

#5) How will you charge me?

Attorneys charge fees in a variety of ways. Ask your potential divorce attorney how they will calculate costs for your case. They may charge:

  • Flat rate fee that includes the full cost of your case.
  • Hourly rate for the time they put into your case.
  • Court fees which cover the costs set by the state and/or county.
  • Office fees which cover the costs of office expenses such as postage, printing, and producing materials.

Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost? 8 Questions to Consider   

#6) What is the estimated cost of my case?

While an attorney may not be able to give you the exact cost of your divorce (unless they offer a flat rate fee), they should be able to offer an estimated cost of taking on your case. In addition to considering the costs listed above, the attorney should factor in the complexity of your case to determine a reasonable estimate for the overall expense. They should also include stipulations and situations that may increase or decrease the cost.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

#7) How can I keep the costs of my divorce down?

While discussing costs, also ask what you can do to bring down the cost. Attorneys can advise you on best practices that will make your divorce move faster and cost less. For example, coming to a quick agreement with your spouse can bring down expenses (whereas a lot of back and forth can drive up costs). Find out how you can do your part to keep costs down.

#8) Do you require a retainer, and if so, how much is it?

A retainer is money that you pay up-front to secure the services of an attorney. Many attorneys require a set amount of money to get started on a case. Some even require a specific balance to stay in escrow as you go through the case. Find out if the attorney requires a retainer and how much must remain as a balance.

#9) What are the next steps?

Finally, find out what happens next if you choose to work with the attorney. You will likely need to fill out paperwork and sign a contract. Discuss what materials you need to send over and when you will meet for your first official meeting.

Related: How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

Get Answers to Questions for a Divorce Attorney

Now that you know what to ask a divorce attorney before you hire them, it’s time to get some answers. Schedule a consultation to meet with TJ Grimaldi and see if he is the right divorce attorney for you.

All consultations with TJ are 100% free. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

A divorce is a delicate time where everything you do (or don’t do) can be scrutinized and used against you. While this may sound intimidating, you won’t have to worry if you know the things not to do during a divorce case.

Knowing how to handle yourself and your relationships, finances, and legal strategy during a divorce can make the process run more smoothly, cost less, and end more quickly.

What Not To Do During a Divorce Case

Whether you are the one who filed for divorce or you have had divorce papers served on you, here are the nine things not to do during a divorce case.

#1) Don’t let your emotions drive you.

It’s no secret that a divorce can be stressful. You are getting ready to go through a life-changing event. Take time to process the situation so you can work to take your emotions out of it. Bringing emotions into your case will make it more difficult and can cloud your judgment when it comes to negotiations.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

#2) Don’t make significant financial moves.

One of the most important things not to do during a divorce case is make major money moves. During your divorce, your finances — both your assets and liabilities — will be looked at closely and used to determine the terms of your divorce. Any major changes can cause delays and complications in the process.

  • Don’t drain bank accounts
  • Don’t make large purchases.
  • Don’t sell any assets.
  • Don’t take on any new debt.
  • Don’t try to hide money in separate accounts.

#3) Don’t harass your spouse. 

It should go without saying that you should never harass your spouse. As mentioned above, divorces can cause emotions to run high, but you never want your emotions to cause you to confront your spouse, whether by showing up in person or by calling or messaging them. Any unruly behavior can be used by your spouse to cast you in a negative light and make a strong claim for their side of the case.

#4) Don’t pull your kids into it.

Kids are innocent bystanders in a divorce. Do everything you can to keep them out of it and away from the associated stress. Don’t use them as pawns or as tools to punish your spouse. Don’t talk badly about your spouse in front of your kids, and never withhold visitation rights. Also, keep any new partners away from your kids. (In fact, you might want to avoid finding a new partner until your divorce is over.)

#5) Don’t share divorce details on the internet.

Just as you want to keep kids out of your divorce, you also want to keep your friends and family and the public out of it. An important thing not to do during a divorce is post about your situation or spouse on the internet or social media. Keep in mind that everything you post publicly can be used by your spouse to support their case against you.

#6) Don’t get another baby involved.

A new baby — whether conceived within the existing partnership or with another partner outside of the marriage — can seriously complicate a divorce case. Don’t get pregnant or get another person pregnant while in the middle of a divorce. Judges may look down on a pregnancy outside of the marriage, and a new baby between partners can lead to a longer process and more complicated mediation.

Related: 6 Ways to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

#7) Don’t take divorce advice from family and friends.

When you go through a divorce, it’s likely that other people in your life who have been divorced will want to offer pieces of advice. Take everything they say with a grain of salt. Every divorce is unique and not everyone is an expert. The best person to rely on for advice is your divorce attorney.

#8) Don’t hide anything from your attorney.

Your divorce attorney is on your side, and they will do whatever they can to fight for your best interest. But, they can’t do that if they don’t have all of the information. From your first meeting with a divorce attorney, you should be completely open and honest. Trying to hide anything from them can only come back to hurt your case.

#9) Don’t talk to your spouse’s attorney.

Your spouse’s attorney is not on your side, and they will do whatever they can to fight for your spouse’s best interest. If they approach you and want to discuss your divorce case, don’t do it. Always leave the communication to your attorney and let your representation handle any negotiations with the other side.

Let an Experienced Attorney Guide You Through Your Divorce

Without the right advice, it can be easy to make mistakes as you go through a divorce. With these tips, you know the top things not to do during a divorce. Now, find out what you should do during a divorce.

Get an experienced divorce attorney to guide you through the process. Contact TJ Grimaldi today to get your free consultation. Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

It should come as no surprise that one of the most common questions that divorce attorneys get asked is, “How long does it take to get a divorce?”

During a divorce, both parties can typically agree on at least one thing — they want it to go as quickly as possible. They want the process to move speedily so they can close the chapter and move on with their lives.

Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact answer to the question, “How long does it take to get a divorce?” There are a few factors that offer an estimated timeline.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce In Florida?

On average, a divorce takes about three to 24 months. The time it takes depends heavily on where you file and if you have a contested or uncontested divorce.

Where You File

Where you live and file for divorce can have an impact on the amount of time it will take to finalize your divorce. Some states have certain timelines tied to divorce proceedings.

The following timelines represent estimates for how long it takes to get a divorce in Florida.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one wherein both parties agree on the separation arrangement. Both parties agree on the details of the separation and do not require negotiation, mediation, or trial.

An uncontested divorce often takes around three to four months. It takes a few weeks to file the paperwork and approximately three months to schedule the final hearing.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is one wherein the parties disagree on the arrangement. The parties cannot come to an agreement on how to split assets, liabilities and/or child custody or they cannot agree to alimony or child support terms.

A contested divorce often takes 12 or more months as it typically requires negotiation and meditation, and sometimes, a trial. The timeline in a contested divorce includes time to prepare paperwork (a month), receive an answer (up to 20 days), produce discovery (up to 90 days), participate in mediation (two to three months), and schedule the final hearing (three months). The timeline can be longer if an agreement can’t be made and the case needs to go to trial.

Keep in mind that these are just estimates. If you want to know how long your specific case will take, talk to a divorce attorney who can listen to the details of your situation and provide a more accurate timeline.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

How Can I Speed Up the Divorce Process?

One of the fastest ways to get a divorce is through a Simplified Divorce. A Simplified Divorce requires less litigation which expedites the process and allows couples to move more quickly through the process.

Not all couples are eligible for a Simplified Divorce. They must meet certain criteria to be able to file a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. The divorce must be uncontested, and no minor children can be involved. If you are ready to file for divorce in Florida and you want the process to move quickly, review the Simplified Divorce guidelines to see if you qualify.

What Will Slow Down the Divorce Process?

One of the reasons why attorneys can’t easily answer the question “how long does it take to get a divorce” is because there are some factors you can’t control.

Your proceedings can slow down depending on the availability of a judge. You may have to wait for hearing times. Also, process errors from either party can slow down the process. If an attorney on either side fails to follow proper procedures or files inaccurate documents, the process can take more time.

Yet, the primary reason why a divorce process slows down is because the parties cannot come to an agreement.

Contested divorces where both parties cannot agree on splitting assets and liability, child custody, and alimony, among other financial details, add time to the divorce process. If you want your divorce to go quickly, you will need to come to an agreement with your partner as soon as possible.

Get an Accurate Timeline for Your Divorce

How long does it take to get a divorce in Florida? Well, it depends.

Consider your unique situation to get an idea about the potential timeline, and add a cushion of extra time to factor in unforeseen issues that could cause delays. If you want a realistic timeline, talk to a family law attorney.

An experienced attorney can give you an accurate estimate because they will have past cases and a knowledge of your local court system to inform them.

They can pull from past experiences to help you see how details of your case may impact timelines. They will also have ideas about how the court system in your community works and be able to tell you about how long it takes to see a judge and if cases are often rescheduled or delayed.

Related: How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney 

Time is ticking.

If you want to get through your divorce as quickly as possible, start the process by contacting TJ Grimaldi today. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 to get answers about timelines and discover what you need to do to get through your divorce as quickly as possible.

A divorce comes with many financial considerations. A large part of your proceedings will revolve around your financial interests. You will identify and split assets and liabilities and also determine who pays for the attorney’s fees in a divorce.

If you’re getting ready to go through this process, you are probably wondering how much a divorce will cost and who is going to pay for it. Will it be you, your spouse, or both of you?

Let’s look at some considerations that can help you determine what to expect.

Divorce Cost Factors

Before determining who pays attorney’s fee in a divorce, start by considering how much the divorce will cost. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact dollar amount for how much a divorce costs. A few things will contribute to the overall cost.

Court Fees

Each county court has a filing fee that must be paid to file for divorce. The fees differ by county and state. In Florida, most counties charge $408.00 to file a dissolution of marriage and annulment.

You may also need to pay additional court fees depending on the details of your case. For example, if your case goes to trial, you will need to pay associated court costs. You are responsible for paying all court fees in addition to attorney’s fees.

Your Current Financial Situation

If you and your spouse don’t have the financial resources needed to pay court fees, you can submit an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. If both parties can prove that they are unable to pay, neither party would be responsible for the fees.

The Complexity of Your Divorce

If you have a very simple divorce (for example, no minor children are involved and the divorce is uncontested), you may be able to file for a Simplified Divorce if you meet specific criteria. A Simplified Divorce is less involved than a traditional divorce, so the associated attorney’s fees will be lower than if you go through standard divorce proceedings.

The more complex your divorce, the more expensive it will be. More resources will be needed if children are involved, you have many assets to divide up, or you and your partner are reluctant to agree on the details of the divorce. A more complicated divorce will require more time from a divorce attorney and incur more expenses related to additional court and mediation costs.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

Attorney’s Fees

If you choose to work with a family law attorney, you will incur attorney’s fees. Attorney’s fees vary widely based on where you live, the attorney’s experience level, and the complexity of your case.

Related: How Much Does an Attorney Cost?

Consider how each of these factors impacts your situation to get an idea of the potential cost of your divorce. A reasonable average is about $5,000.00 to $15,000.00 per spouse.

Who Pays The Attorney’s Fees in a Divorce?

In most divorce cases, both sides have their own lawyer to represent their interests. For example, one spouse may get an attorney and file for a divorce. The other spouse will retain their own attorney once the divorce papers are served on them.

Each party is responsible for the fees due to their hired attorney.

Also, the party who filed for divorce will pay the court filing fees. This initial arrangement does not mean that each side will ultimately pay all of their own attorney costs.

During negotiations of the divorce, one side may fight to get their attorney’s fees paid by the other party. 

  • One party can make a claim that they are unable to pay their attorney’s fees and that the other spouse is in a position to pay the fees. To get your attorney’s fee paid by your spouse, you must prove that you are a dependent spouse who doesn’t have the same resources that the other side has.
  • Another way to get your spouse to pay your attorney’s fees in a divorce is by showing bad faith or fault of the other party. If you can prove that the other side made false allegations, engaged in frivolous litigation, or otherwise caused delays in litigation, you may be awarded attorney’s fee as part of the settlement.

If your settlement awards you attorney’s fees, you will be reimbursed for any costs already paid to the attorney. This is called a shifting fee provision. The party retaining the attorney pays the attorney and is later reimbursed for the expenses.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Florida

Make a Financial Plan for Your Divorce

It may be difficult to determine who pays the attorney’s fees in a divorce and how much it is actually going to cost. The best way to get a clear idea of what to expect in your unique situation is to talk to an experienced divorce attorney.

Most first meetings with a divorce attorney are free and allow you the opportunity to ask questions and get an idea about the financial responsibility you should expect.

If you are getting ready to go through a divorce and have questions about costs and expectations, contact TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today to get answers to your financial questions so you confidently take the next steps without worries of unexpected costs and responsibilities.

Schedule or call 813-226-1023 today.

Just about everyone going through a divorce can agree on one thing: they want the process to be over as quickly as possible. This desire is what leads many people to explore their options for a Simplified Divorce, which can speed up the process (and decrease the associated costs).

While a Simplified Divorce might be a good option for couples looking to quickly dissolve their marriage, it’s not right for everyone.

Let’s look at what a Simplified Divorce is and whether or not it might be right for you.

What Is a Simplified Divorce?

A Simplified Divorce, also known as a Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, is an expedited process that couples can go through to get a divorce in Florida. As its name implies, it is a simplified process that requires less litigation than a standard divorce process. The couple creates their own separation agreement and files it with the court. A Simplified Divorce is set up so couples can do it on their own, without the help of an attorney, but an attorney can (and often does) assist with the process.

A Simplified Divorce is not an option for all couples. You must meet specific criteria to be eligible for a Simplified Divorce.

To be eligible for a Simplified Divorce:

  • You and your spouse must agree that the marriage cannot be saved.
  • You and/or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months.
  • You and your spouse must not have minor children.
  • You and your spouse must not be pregnant.
  • You and your spouse have already agreed on how you split your assets and liabilities.
  • You and your spouse must not be seeking alimony.
  • You and your spouse agree that each will not receive any portion of the other’s pension.
  • You and your spouse agree that there will be no legal ramifications if one or both sides of the party don’t meet the terms of your agreement.
  • You and your spouse are willing to give up your right to a trial and appeal.
  • You and your spouse are willing to sign the petition in the clerk’s office. (This can be done separately.)
  • You and your spouse are willing to go to the final hearing at the same time. (You both must attend.)

If you are ready to file for divorce in Florida and do not meet all of the criteria, you are not eligible for a Simplified Divorce. You must file a standard petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

If you meet all of the criteria and are considering pursuing a Simplified Divorce, here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros of a Simplified Divorce

It is less expensive. A Simplified Divorce is usually less expensive than a standard divorce because it takes less time and resources to file. You will still need to pay the filing fee. The cost to file a Dissolution of Marriage is $408 in most Florida counties. (If you can’t afford the fee, you can file an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status to have your fees waived.) But, you will have fewer costs as they relate to attorneys fees, mediation expenses, and additional court fees.

Related: How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?   

It can be less stressful. Because a Simplified Divorce involves fewer steps, it can be less stressful for both parties. Instead of having multiple meetings with attorneys and spending time in mediation or courtrooms, both parties only spend limited time dealing with the agreement and filing. Even if an attorney is involved, there are typically less meetings than in a standard divorce.

There is less information released publicly. Court proceedings are often available to the public, which means the information may be accessible. Because there is less information and financial disclosures required with a Simplified Divorce, there will be less public information available about the terms of your divorce.

Cons of a Simplified Divorce

Unbalanced power dynamics can lead to an unfair agreement. A Simplified Divorce leaves it up to the couple to decide how to split their assets and liabilities. In cases where one party may have more power or control over the other party, this can lead to an unfair agreement. A standard divorce gives each party the support they need to get what is fair and due to them.

You lose legal protection if your agreement is broken. When you agree to a Simplified Divorce, you are relying on the other party to hold up their part of the agreement. You give up your right to a trial and appeal, and you acknowledge that if one party defaults in the agreement, there will be no legal ramifications. In a more traditional divorce filing, each party is bound by the court to uphold their part of the agreement.

You’re responsible for proper filing. While the court system does its best to help couples go through a Simplified Divorce on their own, the process can still be tedious and complicated. You are responsible for accurately and appropriately finding and completing the correct Florida Family Law Forms. To avoid improper filing, many couples hire an attorney to help them complete the paperwork and properly manage the process.

Related: How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney   

Talk to a Divorce Attorney About Your Options

Couples who are about to go through a divorce want it to be as quick and easy as possible. For many couples, a Simplified Divorce might be the solution they need. But, the extra time and resources spent working with an experienced divorce attorney to go through the standard divorce process is usually worth it.

You get a dedicated attorney who will fight for you and ensure that you get a fair settlement that can be upheld in court. 

Don’t worry about filling out paperwork incorrectly or making mistakes that leave you without a fair settlement. If you are thinking about filing for divorce, learn about your options with a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi. Get expert advice about your options and see what is best for your interests.

Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

When you’re getting ready to go through a divorce, you have many things on your mind. How will divorce impact your family? How long will it take? And, of course — how much will it cost?

Wondering how much a divorce costs is a top concern for people as they start the process of legal separation.

Not knowing how a divorce will impact your finances can be stressful and make it more difficult to take the first step in the proceedings. If you are beginning the divorce process, we recommend getting details about costs right away.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Unfortunately, there is no exact, set cost for a divorce. A reasonable average is about $5,000.00 to $15,000.00 per spouse, but this range can change based on a variety of factors that are unique to your situation.

To get an idea of how much a divorce will cost, consider the types of fees associated with your type of case. Standard divorce fees include:

  • Filing fees and court costs: Costs associated with bringing your case to court.
  • Mediation costs: Costs for a mediator should your case require divorce mediation.
  • Lawyer costs: Cost to retain a lawyer to represent you during your case.

The cost of your divorce may also be impacted by factors such as:

  • If children are involved. When children are involved, it may create a more complex case and require additional time in mediation and/or court to determine parental rights and visitation schedules.
  • The number of and type of assets you have. To determine the value of your assets, you may need to pay to hire experts to assign value. For example, if you have a home, you may need to pay an appraiser or if you have a retirement plan, you may need a financial advisor to provide insight into how to split your funds.
  • If the divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce, when both sides agree to the terms of the divorce, will be cheaper to litigate than a contested divorce where terms need to be negotiated.
  • Whether you and your spouse are able to compromise. If you and your spouse have a difficult time coming to a compromise, it may increase costs by leading to longer mediation sessions and potentially leading to a trial (which can be expensive).

Related: What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served?  

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Florida?

The cost to file for divorce changes by state. Consider the court costs in your state and county to get an idea of court costs and filing fees.

In Florida, the court costs associated with divorce may not be standard across all counties. You need to look at the costs for the specific country where you will be filling. To find the filing fees in your country, visit the county clerk’s website, and review the fee schedules as they relate to family law.

In most Florida counties, the cost to file a dissolution of marriage and annulment is $408.00.

If you can’t afford to pay the fee, you can submit a divorce filing fee waiver, which is called an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. If approved by the court, the fee may be waived.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce?

The cheapest (and fastest) way to get a divorce in Florida is through a Simplified Divorce or Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. A Simplified Divorce expedites the process which decreases costs. You must meet the specific requirements to qualify for a Simplified Divorce, such as no minor children can be involved and the divorce must be uncontested.

Related: How to File for Divorce in Florida 

Find Out How Much Your Divorce Will Cost in Florida

The only way to truly know how much a divorce will cost in Florida is by talking to an attorney.

The details of your case and the rates of attorneys vary widely, so it will be difficult to know for sure how much the divorce will cost without talking to a divorce attorney.

Most divorce attorneys offer free consultations where they listen to the details of your case and give you a reasonable estimate of the cost of litigation. It’s one of the top discussions you should have as you go in for your first meeting with a divorce attorney.

If you are considering filing for divorce in Florida, find out what it will cost — and what to expect as you go through the process — by scheduling your free consultation with TJ Grimaldi. 

During your no-cost meeting, TJ will gather information about your case and help you understand what the associated costs will be. Don’t go blindly in a divorce proceeding. Get the information you need to confidently move forward. Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.

If you’re getting ready to create a parenting plan for your child or children, you need to know the different types of child custody.

Entering into a child custody conversation can be challenging. Even if the discussion is amicable and both parents have the best interest of the child in mind, it can be stressful. To make the situation easier for everyone involved, it helps to know all of your options before starting the conversation.

Knowing the different types of child custody helps both parties fully understand the terms before making an agreement. It also helps you explore all of your options so you can make the best plan of action for your family.

The 5 Types of Child Custody

If a married couple with children splits up or parents that live separately have a child, they need to create a plan for how they will share the responsibility of caring for the child. They need to choose the type of child custody that will work best for the parents, and more importantly, the involved child or children.

Legal Custody

When a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make legal decisions for the child. Parents with children under the age of 18 are legal custodians of the child. Legal custody grants a parent the right to make decisions about how the child will be raised and cared for. A parent with legal custody can make decisions as it relates to the child’s healthcare, religion, and education.

Physical Custody

When a parent has physical custody, they have the right for the child to live with them. Parents with physical custody (called a “custodial parent”) have the child in their home and care for them on a day-to-day basis.

Sole Custody

Sole custody refers to one parent having full legal custody, full physical custody, or both full legal and physical custody of a child. Because it is often better for the child to have both parents involved, sole custody is usually only an option when one parent is deemed unfit.

Joint Custody

Joint custody refers to parents sharing legal custody, physical custody, or both. The goal of most custody agreements is to create a plan where each parent has some physical and legal custody. Under a joint physical custody agreement, both parents spend time with the child living at their home. Under a joint legal custody agreement, parents work together to make long-term decisions about the child’s life and well-being.

Grandparent Visitation Custody

In some cases, child custody expands beyond the rights of parents and extends to grandparents. Grandparents can get legal rights to visit their grandchildren. While this may not be a part of the initial child custody agreement, it’s worth noting that its an option for grandparents.

Related: How to Prepare for the First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney

Who Decides the Type of Child Custody?

Child custody usually comes into question when a couple goes through a divorce, when a child is born out of wedlock, or when circumstances change and an existing custody arrangement needs to change.

Parents must work together to decide on a plan on their own, or they may need to get legal assistance. Child custody can be decided by:

  • The Family: Parents can work together to create an agreement outside of the courtroom. It is advised to have the plan in writing in the event that the plan doesn’t work out and becomes a family law matter. (Please see our Guide to Florida Family Law Forms to see how you can establish a custody plan.)
  • Mediation: Parents can work with a third-party mediator to come up with a child custody agreement. Mediation allows both parties to work together to come up with a plan that they can both agree on. If they can’t agree, they will need to go to court.
  • Judge: If parents cannot come up with a child custody agreement on their own or through mediation, they will go before a judge to present their case. The judge will make the final decision. In most cases, parents want to avoid this option as it puts 100% of the control in the hands of the judge. The parents must abide by their ruling.

Related: 6 Ways to Prepare for Divorce Mediation

Get The Best Child Custody Outcome

If you’re dealing with a child custody change, you may be feeling nervous or anxious. Creating a parenting plan when going through a separation or a divorce can be stressful. It’s natural to feel a bit of anxiety about the situation.

But, you can take steps to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your custody agreement. 

You took the first step by educating yourself on the different types of child custody. Now, you know your options.

The next step is finding a family law attorney who can guide you through the process. With a trusted and experienced attorney by your side, you can ensure that you get the best possible parenting plan whether you create the agreement in or out of court.

Are you getting ready to create a child custody plan? Explore your options and find out how to get the outcome that is best for you and your family. Schedule a free consultation with TJ Grimaldi to share your story and see how he can help. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.


It’s never easy to prepare for divorce mediation. Your emotions are likely running high, and you may have nerves about both the process and the divorce itself. But, getting fully prepared before your divorce mediation will help you decrease your stress and put yourself in a position to get the best possible outcome. 

If you are starting to prepare for divorce mediation, use these tips to get ready. 

#1) Understand what will be discussed during mediation. 

The first step to prepare for divorce mediation is getting a full understanding of what the process is and what will happen during it.

Divorce mediation is a process wherein two parties meet with a non-biased mediator. The goal of the meeting is divide assets and make a plan for your family. During mediation, you will work out: 

  • Distribution of financial assets
  • Distribution of property
  • Distribution of debts
  • Child support payments
  • Alimony payments
  • Child custody and parenting time

Divorce mediation is designed to prevent your case from going to trial. If you and your spouse can amicably work through these decisions in mediation, then you don’t need to go to trial. If you and your spouse can’t work through these decisions, you will go to court where a judge will make the decisions for you. 

Ideally, you want to be in control of these decisions, not a judge, which is why it’s so important to plan for a successful mediation. 

Recommended Reading: How to File for Divorce in Florida 

#2) Collect and closely review all financial documents. 

Before your divorce mediation, get your financial documents in order. Make sure all financial documents are provided to the other side and that you have received all financial documents from the other side. 

Equitable Mediation recommends that you have:

  • Pay Stubs
  • W-2’s and/or 1099’s
  • Tax Returns 
  • Savings, Checking, Money Market and CD Accounts
  • Annuities, IRAs, Deferred Compensation
  • Retirement Accounts and Pensions
  • Non-Retirement Investments such as Stocks, Bonds, Secured Notes, Mutual Funds
  • Credit Cards and Revolving Credit
  • Other Loans and Debts
  • Executive Compensation – Stock Options, RSUs or Other Executive Comp
  • Business Interests Valuation
  • Real Estate Property Valuation
  • Vehicles, Boats, Trailers Valuation
  • Jewelry, Antiques, Art, Coin Collections, or Other Property with significant value
  • Real Estate Loans
  • Life Insurance (Whole Life Policies)

Collect and review these documents so you are aware of all assets and debts going into mediation.

#3) Plan to negotiate — and compromise. 

All divorce assets and terms are negotiable, but only while you are in mediation. If your case goes before a judge, you lose your right to negotiate. The judge will make the final decision. So as you get ready to go into mediation, be prepared to both negotiate and compromise. 

Prioritize the things that are most important to you. Then, be willing to compromise on other items to keep your case in mediation and avoid the need for a judge to make decisions for you.

#4) Don’t expect to rush through it.

While most people want their divorce to be over as quickly as possible, it can be a mistake to rush through the process, especially the mediation.

Mediation can take time. You might want to rush it, but instead, you should be prepared to stay at the mediation as long as it takes to come to an agreement. Plan to take time to really think about the details of the agreement. The results of a divorce mediation will continue to affect your life for years to come, and it’s always better to decide your own fate, rather than put it in the hands of a stranger (the judge). 

#5) Get in the right mindset. 

Divorces are emotional experiences. They can take a toll on people both mentally and physically. As you prepare for divorce mediation, take some time to focus on your mind and body. Get rest, and get in the right mindset.  

You don’t want to go into mediation filled with emotions because they will lead to emotional decisions. Emotional decisions are rarely the right ones. Come into the mediation with the mindset to leave the past in the past, and instead, only worry about what will be best for the future. 

#6) Bring a divorce attorney to be by your side.

You are not required to have an attorney during divorce mediation. Both sides can participate without legal counsel. But, that may not be the best decision.

An experienced divorce attorney can help you see blind spots when it comes to dividing up assets. They can help you negotiate to get what you think is fair and act as an intermediary during complicated and emotional discussions. You are better equipped to go through the process with someone fighting for you by your side. 

Recommended Reading: How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with a Divorce Attorney   

Prepare for Your Divorce Mediation by Talking to an Experienced Attorney

As you prepare for divorce mediation, use these tips to make sure you are prepared. Then, make sure you haven’t missed any important details by working closely with a family law professional who can help you navigate the process. 

The decisions you make during your divorce mediation can impact the rest of your life. Make sure you get them right. 

Talk to an experienced divorce attorney today. Request your free consultation to talk to TJ Grimaldi. Schedule your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.