Florida is a no-fault state. Therefore, one must only allege that a marriage is irretrievably broken in order to obtain a divorce. A spouse cannot hold a marriage hostage by suggesting they would not consent to a divorce; consent is not needed.
The practical answer is that you will not. Generally, family law courts will not completely and permanently restrict or prohibit one parent from being involved in any way whatsoever in a child’s life should that parent show an effort and desire to be involved.
It may be possible that a neglectful, abusive, or absent parent have their rights limited. For example, the Court may limit time-sharing, it may require time-sharing be supervised, or it may limit major decision making authority on the child’s behalf, among other remedies.
Be aware, these circumstances are fairly rare and require that specific factual finding be made on a case-by-case basis. In even rarer circumstances, most often in the Dependency Court context, not in divorce or paternity proceedings, a Court can make specific findings to completely terminate one parent’s rights all together – this is a last line of resort.
Generally, it is very important to be at any and all events surrounding your divorce proceedings so that you remain aware of exactly what is going on. That being said, if parties are able to reach an agreement as to all issues, it may not be necessary that you go to court at all. In a divorce action where an agreement has been reached as to all issues, the Court will require one (1) party attend a Final Hearing where jurisdictional testimony will be taken. This may be as quick as 5-10 minutes.
If you are involved in a paternity action and are able to reach an agreement, you likely should not have to appear in court at all.
Be sure to calendar each event that is to occur in your case and to check with your attorney regarding your attendance at each event.
It is tough to say exactly how much one should expect to spend in any given family law action. We value all of our client’s issues on a case-by-case basis.
That being said, in the local community one can expect attorney’s fees to range from $175 per hour to $500 per hour; and, generally, attorneys should expect to expend anywhere between 10 and 100 hours per case.
As you can see, this is a broad range; to get a better sense of how your case may proceed and to better estimate what your costs may be, please feel free to schedule a consult.