Due to the tough economy, South Florida residents are filing fewer court cases and are seeking budget-friendly ways to obtain legal services, reports WZVN, the Fort Myers ABC affiliate.
As a result of this trend, the divorce rate in Florida has decreased during the past year, according to the source.
An area attorney told WZVN that legal costs running to thousands of dollars have become prohibitive for many couples seeking divorce. Filing costs alone, which for a divorce run to more than $400 in Florida, can make divorce impractical in this economy. The Florida housing market also has a high rate of underwater mortgages, which means neither party in a potential divorce wants to take over the debt.
Some couples are looking for lawyers with reduced rates or are asking for payment plans, the source reports.
Online services that generate legal divorce documents are also an affordable, convenient option for couples who have reached agreements on property division and child custody.
The national divorce rate steadily declined from 7.9 out of every 1,000 couples in 1980 to 5.2 in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.