Divorce Options

Divorce can be a major life transition that can affect every family member especially if children are involved. Many people going through a divorce find this transition a very difficult change in their adult lives. The courts only usher you through the legal aspect of your divorce. When the other aspects of life remain unaddressed during divorce they can cloud the reality of the situation and induce you to come up with unrealistic expectations about what the courts can do. To better understand what can and cannot happen in court remember that:

The family court system should not be used as a tool for revenge or punishment; this tactic can easily backfire.
Often those who want to provide you with support and protection become emotionally charged themselves and serve only to fuel the fire instead.
In a divorce case, even if you win in the courts, you may lose in life. The drain and anger of a high conflict divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating.
Every case is different. So do not depend on legal advice from your friends and relatives.
Sometimes, partners reach a mutual decision to divorce. In Florida when one spouse says it’s over, it is. There may be hoops to jump through but if someone wants out of a marriage and tells the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will dissolve the marriage. However, before a couple can be divorced, parenting and financial decisions have to be made and filed with the courts.

Sometimes an individual or couple seeking an inexpensive divorce thinks the only way to get in front of a judge for a divorce is to file paperwork on their own or hiring a mediator who can help them reach an agreement and prepare for an uncontested proceeding. However, the reality is that when assets and children are at stake the process is a lot more difficult without legal representation. Most people are unfamiliar with the ever changing family laws and may do themselves more damage than good if they try and go it alone…after all, it is not like you always planned to get a divorce.

Hiring an attorney is your best option if you need legal protection from your spouse or if your spouse has already retained an attorney. If you are unaware of what the marital assets are or how much your spouse earns, a divorce attorney can investigate all of these details. If you feel intimidated because of you have been a victim of domestic violence or coercion, negotiating without a divorce lawyer is ALWAYS a bad idea.

Another option involves the hiring of a mediator. This option is often chosen by couples that want to save time and money and to side-step the negative nature of divorce but still believe they need the assistance of a knowledgeable professional. There are 2 types of Divorce Mediations in the state of Florida; pro-se and pre-suit. Pro-se means unrepresented, self-represented or without lawyers and pre-suit means before a law suit has been filed often with no attorney present. Mediators that offer pro-se/pre-suit mediation are trained to guide divorcing couples towards an agreement, an uncontested divorce and a friendlier future.

In Florida, a large number of all divorcing couples use mediation and avoid going to trial. If you and your spouse hire attorneys and after your attorneys have completed the discovery process, you will likely resolve your case in mediation with a mediator selected by your attorneys. If you choose a do-it-yourself divorce and file your paperwork on your own the court will typically send you to a court sponsored or subsidized mediation program where you can resolve any remaining issues.

Typically, the mediation process takes between two and ten hours, depending on the issues and the personalities involved. Many divorces are mediated in a single session and sometimes the process is spread out over time. The end result of the mediation process is the creation of a customized Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement. This agreement will cover future parenting plans (if there are minor children) and how finances will be handled during and after the divorce.

If you have any questions about mediation or any other options regarding your divorce case, please contact us at 954-210-7777 to schedule your FREE telephonic or office consultation with an attorney. We serve clients in Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Martin and St. Lucie Counties.


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