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.