Divorces Taking Longer and Longer and Costing More and More Due to Budget Cuts in the Courts in New York … Florida … and, Probably, Every State

Budget cuts throughout the court system. A familiar refrain in Florida. And in New York state.

Floridians going through divorce may draw a small measure of consolation reading about the impact of their budget cuts on New Yorkers’ divorces, if not actually personally commiserating with New Yorkers going through divorces.

New York judges, lawyers and divorcing couples reportedly all agree that New York’s court system is unmanageable, makes the process cost more than it would if it were in better shape, and needs to be “repaired”.

A dedicated Commission has written a roadmap of where the New York courts need to go, but getting there is another story.

Today in New York, waits for a trial date can be a year. Divorce trials are often heard in small chunks, spread out over weeks and even months. Requiring that spouses and their attorneys make numerous separate court appearances and that working spouses miss a fair number of full or half days of work.

Of course, court administrators lay the blame on attorneys and spouses, for not settling their cases or seeking trials earlier in the process. A successful mediation program launched in Westchester County may be replicated in other counties.

The bottom line that came out of a meeting of attorneys in upstate New York is just as true in Florida as in New York:

  1. disagreements over property division or child custody (or, for that matter, anything) will prolong a divorce and

  2. one spouse has the power to, in effect, slam the brakes on the divorce

Underscoring the point that, if both spouses want a fast and inexpensive divorce, they must find a way to reach a settlement. Of course, that is often far easier said than done.

Read more in this [ Middletown, NY ] Times Herald-Record article: Divorces in New York eating up time and finances