Navigating Your Options As You Approach Divorce
There are three ways to dissolve a marriage in Florida. Those are traditional/litigation, collaborative, and mediation. Of those, litigation is the most expensive and takes the longest to resolve. Mediation is the quickest and the cheapest. Collaborative divorce falls somewhere in the middle. When you choose which path to follow, much will depend on your relationship with your spouse and whether or not you can come to terms together. Below, we’ll take a look at each of the three options.
Also known as the adversarial approach or traditional approach, a litigated divorce is the most contentious. Each spouse has their own lawyer who advocates on behalf of the spouse’s best interests or stated goals. A third party, usually a judge or an arbitrator, makes key decisions on behalf of the spouses to resolve issues that the spouses cannot agree on. The judge listens to evidence presented by both spouses.
This approach is generally the least desirable because of the costs involved with approaching a litigated divorce. Litigated divorces take the longest to resolve. All matters are decided by a judge or arbitrator meaning that the individual spouses have less control over the outcome. Litigated divorces are also a matter of public record when a judge makes the decisions. Assets that pass through probate are a matter of public record.
In a mediated divorce, neither party usually has their own attorney. Instead, one attorney helps both sides mediate the terms of their divorce. The mediator’s job is to help both parties resolve issues related to property division, alimony, and child custody. The role of the attorney in a mediated divorce is to act as an advisor or consultant.
Mediation is generally the cheapest way to dissolve a marriage, but it won’t be appropriate for all couples. Those who have deep-seated resentment or are very far apart on their individual positions won’t be able to successfully navigate the mediation process. At the end of the mediation process, the spouses present their own agreement to the court which will generally sign off on the matter.
Collaborative divorce falls somewhere in the middle of litigation and mediation. In cases where mediation is not successful and the parties want to avoid litigation, collaborative divorce presents an excellent third alternative. Each spouse will have their own attorney, but there is a written agreement to follow the collaborative process. The collaborative process is less about advocating for one side or the other, and more about finding creative solutions to problems. It is less adversarial than litigation but recognizes that both sides have their own interests and that these interests may be further apart.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Divorce Lawyer Today
Faulkner Law Group, PLLC represents the interests of Tampa, Florida residents who are considering divorce. Call the Tampa family lawyers at our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your options immediately.