Divorcing in Florida? Expect Delays in 2012

More than $31 million in last minute statewide budget cuts have Florida’s court clerks scrambling to reduce costs. Proposed funding to the various offices was cut in the last two weeks of the 2012 legislative session. As a result of the budget cuts, the state’s court clerks claim civil cases such as divorces will likely be significantly delayed well into 2013.

Court clerks receive, process, and store all Florida case documents. Their budgets were cut by 17 percent in 2009. After lawmakers cut court clerk budgets by another seven percent earlier this year, the clerks held an emergency meeting on March 14th to discuss the ramifications. Sharon Bock, Palm Beach County Clerk, said her office alone has seen a $10 million decrease in funding during the last three years. Bock believes she cannot operate the court in a constitutional manner if she reduces her staff any further. Instead, she plans on tabling technology expenditures and cutting staff overtime. As a result, Bock has warned that civil courts in Palm Beach County will be disturbed and residents can expect to have their patience tested.

Bock predicts lines will be longer this year at the Palm Beach County Clerk’s office. She also believes a general backlog in civil cases such as divorces will necessarily follow the most recent round of budget cuts. The constitution mandates due process and the right to a speedy trial in criminal cases. Unfortunately for divorcing couples and others, such requirements do not extend to civil cases. Constitutional requirements, budget cuts, and an increase in foreclosure and red-light camera ticket cases means more civil cases will likely be delayed.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to remember that Florida is a no-fault divorce state. This means no one needs to be blamed for the end of a Florida marriage. If the parents of minor children choose to dissolve their marriage, the former couple’s final judgment of divorce will include a custody arrangement and a parenting plan, also called a time-sharing plan. A Florida time-sharing plan will outline which parent a child will spend overnights, holidays, and other days with each week or month. If you are faced with divorce or another stressful family law matter, it is a good idea to contact an experienced Florida family law attorney to help you navigate the legal process. Having legal counsel on your side during a contested marital or family law matter can have a significant effect on your future.

Sandy T. Fox is a knowledgeable Aventura divorce lawyer. He is available to explain your rights, answer any questions you may have, and assist you in filing your divorce or other family law case. Whether through mediation, negotiated settlement, or trial, Mr. Fox is committed to achieving a positive outcome for his clients. He assists Florida clients with divorce, child custody, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, paternity matters, alimony, adoptions, name changes, and child support. To schedule your comprehensive family law case analysis, call the Law Office of Sandy T. Fox at (800) 596-0579 or contact the law firm through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Miami Father Accused of Kidnapping, Hiding Daughter Released from Jail, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 6, 2012
Broward Circuit Judge Susan F. Greenhawt Resigns, Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2012
Additional Resources:

Florida court clerks predict delays in civil, traffic filings due to budget cuts, by Dara Kam, The Palm Beach Post