Often a prospective client asks if they must go to court to get a Florida divorce. While dissolving a marriage is a court proceeding and a judge issues an order granting divorce, how much time a divorcing party spends inside the courtroom often depends on whether the soon-to-be exes can conjure up a marital settlement agreement.
The basic ritual
In divorce, a handful of issues must be decided so the parties can move forward in their new lives. These issues may include property division, spousal support, child custody, legal fees and others. The right potion is that issues the spouses can negotiate to agreement stay out of trial and those that remain contested go to the judge to decide.
The devil is in the details
Some parties go into the divorce process already in agreement on some or all of the issues while other divorcing parties are completely at odds. An experienced family lawyer will facilitate negotiations on outstanding contested matters. The issues decided by the parties by agreement will become part of a marital settlement agreement for submission to the court.
If the agreement is comprehensive, there will be no need for trial. If any or all issues are still in dispute, those will go to the judge, who will decide them after both sides present their evidence and arguments.
Mediation may be the charm
Another route to a negotiated settlement is through mediation, an alternative process that may be of choice or court ordered. The mediation process involves a mediator, a neutral third party approved by both parties. The mediator does not act in a judge-like capacity. Rather, using their particular magic of special conflict-resolution and communication skills, they assist the parties through impasses and toward psychic balance. Each party has access to their own lawyer for guidance and advice throughout the process.
A huge benefit of mediation is the privacy of the process outside of the courtroom, among other favorable factors.
A Florida family lawyer can answer questions about negotiation, mediation and the courtroom.