November 23, 2021
The experience of going through a divorce can be especially stressful and upsetting and is all the more complicated when the process is contested and not moving smoothly. An experienced and professional divorce attorney on your side as soon as possible after deciding to divorce will support you through the process and fight for a mutually agreeable and fair settlement.
In this article, we’ll explore the value of mediation in your Florida divorce and how an experienced local divorce attorney can advocate for the best possible outcome on your end.
How To Dissolve A Marriage in Florida
The ending of a marriage is unfortunately not always as simple as coming to a mutual agreement that it is over then equitably and calmly resolving all of the relevant issues under Florida law. Some people can agree from the beginning on property division, spousal support, and time-sharing, but most need assistance to come to agreements. This can involve negotiation by your attorneys or participation in mediation.
Divorce is a time-consuming process and generally takes 60 days before your dissolution of marriage document gets recorded by the Clerk of Circuit Court, who then forwards a report to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for permanent filing.
When you decide to divorce in Florida, prepare and approach the process seriously, as you get only one shot at handling all the details involved in the divorce, from breaking the legal relationship to splitting property and determining custody of any children.
The Rules of Divorce in Florida
Divorces in Florida are “no-fault,” the reason for filing a divorce is not generally relevant. One party needn’t show mental cruelty, physical abuse, or abandonment to file for divorce. Instead, the party must simply demonstrate that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” a legal term that means there is no reasonable chance that you can reconcile and save the marriage.
Outside of the requirement that you demonstrate your marriage is irretrievably broken, you or your spouse must live in Florida for at least six months to file in the state. Once you decide to proceed with a divorce, you will proceed down one of two paths – uncontested or contested, with uncontested being the more efficient way to resolve your case.
The Role of Mediation in Florida Divorces
The first path to a settlement that your divorce might take is through an agreement between you and your soon-to-be-former spouse that settles all issues involved in your divorce. This often happens through mediation, and if mediation does not work, then the court will make the decisions for you through a trial.
Mediation is a way in which people who are having a dispute can discuss their issues and concerns and make decisions about the dispute with the assistance of a third party, called a mediator. The mediator is not allowed or authorized to tell you what to do or how to resolve your dispute, but only to help you find solutions that make sense to both parties so that you can resolve your concerns together.
The goal is to work something out, and if the court orders mediation and you cannot reach an agreement, then your dispute returns to the court for the judge to decide for you. The courts might not have the same perspective as you and your former spouse, and the division of property and time-sharing decisions by the court might not be satisfactory to either you or your former spouse.
This highlights the importance of approaching mediation carefully and professionally, with an informed and experienced divorce attorney in your corner, knowing how to make the most of your case and any related settlement.
Is My Attorney Less Aggressive if they Want to Mediate?
You might think that an aggressive, pit bull-style attorney is what makes for the best outcome in your divorce, as television and other media might advise you. In reality, divorce attorneys are not engaging in a battle with one another in which aggression and anger rule, but instead, they are two legal colleagues doing their best to create a solution that both their clients are happy with.
Engaging in mediation as early as possible can help to lay a foundation of positivity for the divorce proceedings and help to prevent the necessity of aggression and negativity later on. The decision to end your marriage is difficult enough, but there is no need to make the process worse by adding in aggression and contention.
Early Mediation Supports a Mutually Agreeable Solution
Attending mediation as soon as your situation allows can help you and your former spouse to agree sooner rather than later. This reduces stress and also the cost associated with processing your divorce. The length of time that your overall case takes can reduce considerably through early mediation. If you cannot, the alternative is scheduling a trial before a judge, which takes time and resources.
Trials Are Uncertain and Unpredictable
What you think is completely fair and logical, however correct you might be, does not necessarily mean that the judge will agree. The decision to bring your divorce into the courtroom and out of mediation sacrifices your control over the exact content of your settlement agreement.
A well-negotiated settlement during mediation can make both spouses happy with the agreement and leave no potential variables or alternative decisions for the court to instead decide for you. Mediation can also help keep things amicable if children are involved and keep the divorce process from dragging along.
Mediation Can Be More Advantageous Than Litigation
If you think that mediation might be a reasonable path towards achieving your objectives in your divorce, reach out to a local divorce attorney to discuss your case and to get started down the path of settlement.