While going through a divorce can be difficult and emotional, approaching the situation with a team mindset can help simplify the process. Mediation is the perfect route for those interested in working together to create a divorce settlement that is beneficial for everyone involved. Couples should come to the table prepared to disclose all information necessary to design a concise settlement.
Mediation offers many benefits when compared to other types of divorce resolution, such as traditional court litigation. According to the American Bar Association, these benefits include the following:
- Less expensive, as couples can avoid court costs
- Quicker, as couples are often able to schedule mediation sessions around their other engagements rather than wait for lengthy court dates
- Non-confrontational, as meetings take place out of court in a laid back atmosphere
- Private, as court cases are public record and mediation is confidential
Couples often choose mediation because it puts them in charge of their own divorce settlement. Rather than leave the details of the decree up to the discretion of a judge, you get to write a settlement that works best for your unique situation. Settlements created through mediation have a higher rate of compliance, as people are more likely to follow terms they created.
People often leave the divorce with a more positive relationship than they would have if they had gone through litigation. This is especially true for parents or business partners who must interact with one another even after the divorce. This relationship can have a positive influence on children going through the divorce.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.
While people generally associate divorce with dramatic conflict and bitter animosity, couples choose to separate for many different reasons, and divorce is anything but uncommon. According to the American Psychological Association, over 20% of first marriages in the U.S. end within five years, and 48% end within 20 years.
In many cases, spouses are less interested in settling scores than in moving on with their lives. Collaborative and mediated divorce are two alternative approaches that may help some couples minimize the time, expense and emotional toll of a court-fought process while working toward a mutually beneficial resolution.
When divorcing spouses are willing to work together, a trained mediator may be able to help resolve issues by acting as a neutral third party. The mediator works on behalf of both partners simultaneously, providing them with legal guidance while helping them to come to a cost-effective, equitable agreement about child custody issues, child support, alimony, the division of property and other financial and family-related decisions.
Similar to mediation, in a collaborative divorce, spouses agree to work together toward a resolution without litigation. However, during collaboration, each spouse retains her or his own lawyer to advise and assist in negotiations. All parties involved agree to take a cooperative rather than adversarial approach to reaching a settlement, allowing for a communicative process that prioritizes mutual respect and problem-solving.
Strong foundations for the future
When a divorce case goes to court, the law constrains the types of settlement decisions the judge may make. Those outcomes are often not what either party had in mind. In addition to avoiding the expense and stress of litigation, taking a mediated or collaborative approach allows separating couples much more control over the outcome of their own divorce.
Neither of these options may be the best choice for spouses who have become irreconcilably estranged. However, these modern alternatives to traditional divorce offer a unique opportunity for those couples willing to put aside their differences while working toward a better future.
Florida residents who are over 50 years of age and contemplating a marriage dissolution may wish to learn more about the collaborative divorce process. As reported by the U.S. News & World Report, there are a variety of stress-related issues that may cause a decline in health within two years of experiencing a major life event. According to the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory scale, divorce is the second leading cause of stress.
The process of aging can be a major event that, on its own, may be significantly stressful. Going through a divorce at the same time might prove to be much harsher on an individual’s overall well-being. For health reasons, a divorcing couple may wish to end their relationship quickly and amicably. The collaborative divorce process may be a much less stressful alternative to the potentially confrontational traditional approach.
The collaborative divorce process in Florida
When two spouses have reached a point in their lives where they are both ready to end the marriage, it may not be necessary to carry on a contentious battle in the courtroom. By discussing the outcome both parties wish to reach, they may move forward in achieving their needs by working out an agreement. After agreeing on the terms through constructive mediation, their lawyers may draw up the final settlement papers and file the documents in family court to finalize the marriage dissolution.
The overall benefits of a collaborative divorce
In addition to the lesser degree of stress involved, the collaborative divorce process is quicker, more convenient and incurs less expense. Rather than fighting for control of the situation, the couple may focus on problem-solving.
Gray couples who decide to take this approach may have completed the task of raising their children and do not need to discuss child custody or support. Spouses may have also settled into their own career paths, and each is earning a living he or she is comfortable with. If there are property and assets to consider, the couple may split them fairly and on favorable terms.
Most people assume that a family law attorney is focused on ensuring that his or her client receives the most equitable settlement possible. Though this is the main role of these professionals, there are times when one may work to help couples find healthier ways to communicate, whether within the structure of a marital relationship or during a divorce. Florida residents who are headed for a divorce but wish to avoid the acrimony that accompanies a traditional process may find that a collaborative law divorce is a less-stressful option.
One divorce attorney who has struggled to help his clients work through a contentious divorce has come up with an idea that he hopes may help a struggling couple avoid filing for a divorce. He developed conversation starting cards that may enable spouses to talk about topics outside of the usual conversations concerning children and finances. The cards include an activity that the developer describes as intended to spark deeper conversations while the couple are out for an evening alone.
The cards are a product of in-depth interviews with married couples concerning the types of topics that are often hard to approach in the midst of every day life. Couples who are busy raising children and working often drift apart and find that they seldom engage in meaningful dialogue that could help strengthen their marriage. One of the most appreciated topics involve discussions over forgiveness and mistakes.
It is hoped that couples can use such tools to help prevent a relationship from growing cold over time. However, this experienced attorney stated that not every marriage can be salvaged. In spite of the effort spouses may invest, a divorce may be the only viable solution. Florida residents who are able to communicate and negotiate without undue animosity may elect to enlist the services of a family law attorney who is skilled in the collaborative law approach in order to arrive at the most suitable settlement.
The number of “gray” divorces has continued to climb. Unfortunately, the costs of dissolving a marriage later in life can be a significant factor in the decision to file a petition for divorce. Though Florida residents who are preparing for a divorce after a lengthy marriage may worry about the costs, there are ways to reduce the expense, including choosing a collaborative law approach.
It is estimated that a divorce for those aged 50 and older may run about $50,000 to $100,000. There are ways that spouses can cut these costs significantly. One of the first is to try to avoid the courtroom trial approach. There are other ways to seek a divorce that can help cap the expenses, depending on a particular situation. Those who can work cooperatively through separate attorneys may find that a collaborative law method can keep costs to a minimum compared to a trial divorce.
Along with choosing a less-combative approach, spouses may lower costs by communicating with attorneys through email rather than personal meetings or phone calls. Those who can compile all financial information efficiently also can save time and money. Working together to decide on the division of marital property and retirement assets is another way to reduce costs. Spouses are encouraged to reach an agreement on the value of possessions and property when possible, rather than seeking a professional appraisal, which adds to the total costs.
The process of seeking a divorce is often emotionally and mentally draining. When significant assets are at stake, the process can take a toll on one’s financial stability. Florida residents who decide that a divorce is their best option may wish to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in the collaborative law approach in order to seek the most cost-efficient and equitable settlement that will best meet their needs.
When spouses realize that their relationship has run its course, there are two basic needs for each party to have during a divorce. These are: someone to advocate for their needs and extensive documentation. Florida residents who are preparing for a divorce might meet both of these needs through a collaborative law approach if their situation lends itself to such a process.
One of the first thoughts when planning to divorce is whether to engage the services of an attorney. This is valid, as everyone needs an advocate when going through this legal process. However, one does not necessarily need to prepare for a bitter court trial if the spouses are still capable of communicating. A collaborative law approach entails each spouse obtaining the services of a separate attorney who will engage in negotiations to arrive at the most agreeable settlement solutions.
Once the type of divorce has been decided upon, the second requirement is to carefully and thoroughly document everything. The first area that needs to be supported with written records is a listing of all marital assets and liabilities. Providing complete information regarding the marital finances ensures that the subsequent settlement will be as equitable as possible. Along with all financial information, it is important to have some form of written communication concerning every other aspect relating to the divorce. When children are involved, written schedules concerning visitation and holiday plans can provide back-up in the event one parent disputes agreed-upon plans.
While not every detail must be formally documented, even a simple email communication can help clarify an issue, whereas a verbal agreement can be challenged. A divorce takes a mental and financial toll. Spouses who ensure that the two most basic needs are addressed will likely fare better throughout the ordeal. Florida residents who believe that a collaborative law approach can help ease stress may seek out an attorney who is experienced in this type of proceeding.
When a marriage is no longer sustainable, the next logical step is to file for a divorce. Depending on the particular circumstances, there is a divorce path that will best meet one’s needs. Florida residents have several options, including a collaborative law approach.
There are approximately nine categories when filing for a divorce. For couples who were married for a relatively short amount of time, have no children, and own few assets or debts, there is a summary divorce. This expedited divorce is filed jointly and should be resolved fairly quickly. Couples who agree to a divorce and have no sticking points to disagree over may file for an uncontested divorce. Another possibility in situations where one spouse has either abandoned the marriage or refuses to respond to a divorce petition is a default divorce.
Several years ago, the only way to seek a divorce was through proving fault. Now, most states permit the no-fault divorce in which spouses claim that the relationship is irretrievably broken. Other possible avenues are mediation and arbitration. For those spouses who cannot come to any agreements or have other serious issues involved, a traditional trial may be sought to settle a contested divorce.
Couples who are able to work together with the assistance of individual attorneys may seek a collaborative law approach. The parties each assist their attorneys in working out an agreement that meets their needs with the information that each side presents. If the spouses cannot reach a suitable agreement, then the process is scrapped and each side finds new counsel to represent them in court. Florida residents who are seeking an end to an unhappy marriage and are concerned about their future financial well-being may be best served by consulting with a family law attorney who can provide experienced guidance throughout the process.
When a couple is headed for a divorce, one of the last words that come to mind is peaceful or amiable. In fact, it is often the lack of these two elements that may have played a role in the decision to divorce. However, for Florida residents who wish to avoid much of the hostility of a typical divorce, a collaborative law approach works well.
One impression of the word divorce is a tension-filled courtroom with former spouses ready to do battle over custody and marital assets. While lawyers are willing to fight for their clients’ fair share, for many couples, this adversarial approach is unsettling. For those couples for whom compromise is an attainable goal, collaborative law offers an opportunity for the two parties to sit down with the respective attorneys and work out a settlement that meets most of each party’s needs.
The process begins with each spouse retaining the services of a lawyer who is trained in this type of divorce. The spouses then sign an agreement that each will work in cooperation with one another to resolve their divorce in an amicable and open manner. Other professionals may be consulted who can provide guidance regarding financial matters or supply other information that ensures that decisions are made in the best manner possible for the parties involved.
If, for some reason, either spouse finds him- or herself unable to cooperate, then the process must be abandoned, and a more traditional divorce will need to be pursued. In many cases, the process of a collaborative law divorce will allow the parties to dissolve their marriage in the manner that is least disruptive to all of the parties involved. Florida residents who are attracted to the idea of a less hostile end to an unhappy marriage may seek the services of an attorney who is skilled in this particular process.
While the decision to marry may be impetuous, filing for divorce requires careful deliberation. The mental picture of the divorce process involves courtrooms and bitter fighting. However, there are various avenues to seeking a divorce, and many Florida residents may find that a collaborative law approach meets their needs.
In general, there are five options to consider when filing for a divorce. One option that might sound appealing but is usually only appropriate for a small number of couples is the do-it-yourself divorce. This is usually only applicable to those spouses who were married for a short time and do not have children or numerous assets. An option that may work better for couples who are able to compromise readily is the mediation method. This involves having a neutral third party assisting spouses as they work out details relating to a settlement, and it can include outside professionals to ensure a fair and equitable solution.
An option that may prove to be most suitable is the collaborative law divorce. This method allows for each party to be represented by an attorney who will work with the other team members to ensure that the process avoids animosity and as fair to each party as possible. If children are involved, then outside professionals can provide advice as to the best arrangements to meet the family’s needs. If either party cannot come to an agreement, then the process can be halted and another method selected to restart the process.
The last two avenues are an attorney-assisted settlement and the traditional, but costly, litigation process. Both of these will be more expensive, but they may provide the structure needed for some situations. The decision to file for a divorce is never an easy one. However, for those Florida residents who wish to ease some of the emotional stress while arriving at an equitable settlement, a collaborative law divorce may be the most appealing solution.
When one hears the word divorce, it is likely that the images that come to mind involve warring spouses facing off in a courtroom. Unfortunately, when many Florida couples are headed for a divorce, both the spouses and their children often endure an emotionally exhausting ordeal. When possible, a collaborative law approach can help make the process as civil as possible.
In collaborative law divorce, the spouses obtain separate legal counsel who will then meet together to discuss the issues that will need to be addressed and resolved before the divorce can be granted. The first step in the process is to assess whether this approach will work for the divorcing couple. If the pair cannot work together in a calm manner or if there are extenuating circumstances, then a traditional divorce may be more appropriate.
Once this process is determined to be suitable, then the involved parties will sign an agreement that states that the parties will work together and will agree to share information and cooperate in reaching a suitable settlement. The parties also will agree on which professionals may be required in order to reach the best solutions. The spouses and their attorneys will meet outside of the courtroom until all of the matters have been successfully resolved.
Once the spouses have agreed to all of the settlement terms, the divorce agreement and all supporting documents will be submitted to the court. If at any point the parties cannot reach an agreement, then the process will be discontinued, and each spouse will need to consult with a new attorney to file for a traditional divorce. Florida residents who believe that a collaborative law divorce may be the best option for them can seek the assistance of an attorney who is well-versed in the process.