Understanding your Florida divorce options

Some divorces are contentious. Others are civil. Still others are emotional. Some involve no litigation, but others may call for numerous court appearances over the course of a year or more. They all have something in common, though, in that are all unique. What works for one couple probably won't work for another. With that in mind, it is important to remember that while there are a number of different options for both contested and uncontested divorce in Florida, the goal is the same: resolution, closure and a workable marital settlement agreement.

Contested divorces

If the relationship between you and your spouse has seriously deteriorated, chances are good that you won't be able to cooperatively work to find solutions to issues that need to be addressed in your divorce. Once contention arises between spouses, it can be difficult to get the emotions "out of the way" long enough to make decisions about important topics like:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Who keeps the marital home (or if it should be sold and the proceeds split)
  • Custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Alimony (also known as "spousal support" or "spousal maintenance")

Legally speaking, if you are and your spouse cannot work together to hammer out a settlement, your divorce will be considered "contested." Just because a divorce is contested certainly doesn't mean that you are doomed to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars fighting it out in court, though. Some couples start out not being able to agree on any of the vital issues needed to dissolve their marriage, but can find solutions once they get into the process of divorce, often before they ever step foot in a courtroom.

Others find that working with a mediator or other neutral third party extremely helpful in getting them to look past any anger, hurt or anxiety they are feeling to focus on what is important. Mediated settlements are often useful when there are children involved, because they can help couples start their divorced lives in a civil, cordial manner, something that is crucial for co-parenting. State law requires all Florida couples seeking a divorce to attempt mediation before their case goes to trial.

Uncontested divorces

Uncontested divorces are just that: uncontested. This means that the couple is able to agree on most or all of the important issues and just needs to go through the legal process of having their marriage dissolved. Obviously, finding workable solutions without the need for judicial intervention is simpler, results in a settlement agreement that is less stressful, for the family, makes the process of co-parenting easier, and is cheaper a highly contested divorce.

Which kind of divorce do you want?

In a perfect world, people who decide to end their marriages would always do so with civility and respect, and all of the parties involved would find the process liberating instead of defeating. Unfortunately, that is just not the case. A divorce can be messy, emotional and stressful. It can be hard to put aside emotions, even when doing so could lead to a fresh start.

Are you thinking of ending your marriage? Are you already involved in a divorce but have questions about possible bumps in the proverbial road? Do you want guidance about the various methods of securing a divorce? For the answers to these and other divorce-related questions, seek the advice of an experienced Florida family law attorney in your area.