CHEAP DIVORCES............by Bob Smith 
Friday, August 13, 2010, 09:36 AM
Posted by Administrator
When I was still a practicing lawyer, middle income people could get divorced for not much more than the cost of a root canal or two. Judges trusted that lawyers would do their best for their clients and, when a Judge was presented with an agreement signed by both parties, the Judge would sign off and the parties could go their separate ways after a hearing that usually took around 90 seconds.

The lawyer would ask.........
What is your name?
Is this agreement I am showing the Judge an agreement signed by both you and your husband?
Did anyone force either of you to sign it?
Does it settle all the issues between the two of you?
How long have you been a resident of the State of Florida?
Is this your driver license I am showing the Judge?
Is your marriage irretrievably broken?

Then, the lawyer would say (at least for the past 15 or 20 years during which we have had, here in Florida, legislated guidelines for child support): "Judge, the child support IS according to the guidelines." And, I always thought the lawyers who said this were telling the truth. I was when I said it.

The Judge would sign the Final Judgment incorporating the agreement, make a brief speech to which ever of the parties to the divorce had come to court (the speech was intended to make the Judge appear likeable and someone to vote for in the next judicial election), and the Judge would then wish everyone well........then move on to the next case.

Now, things are different:
You need a Statement of Social Secuirty Number; Financial Affidavits which have to jibe; with the Child Support Guidelines Worksheet; along with a Parenting Plan. You've also got your signed agreement, proposed Final Judgment, testimony at final hearing sheet, and case disposition form.

...and all of this (in a world where we apparently no longer trust lawyers to do right by their clients) is a wonderful thing. ..except that it all costs money ...and the dishonest among us will jimmy the numbers, anyway .....and divorces were pretty expensive to begin with...

If the numbers don't jibe then you've got to have a big hearing. If you want to pay more child support than the "guidelines" call for you've got to have a hearing. If you don't have all the papers, you've got to come back. If the numbers on the Financial Affidavit change during the course of the case (you have a new expense for health insurance because...guess what...you are getting divorced) you've got to redo the Affidavit..you can't just tell the judge that the numbers changed and you and the other lawyer agree on the numbers that result.

I am not saying that we ought to do (what I understand) Muslim men can do to to get a divorce: say "I divorce thee." "I divorce thee." "I divorce thee."

Okay, maybe I am saying that.

Editor's Note: Bob Smith is a retired South Florida lawyer who now resides up North, just next to the border with Canada.
Bob says: "I'm retired now but good luck to all of you young lawyers who have to put up with this crap. You old guys ought to give it up and come here and see me in Wyoming...it's gonna be moose season soon."



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