In Florida, when the parties decide to file and pursue a traditional adversarial divorce in the court system, the court will immediately issue a document known as a Standing Order. In a nutshell, the Standing Order requires both parties to effectively maintain the financial status quo during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. For example, bills should continue to be paid as they have historically been paid, neither party should unreasonably horde or otherwise wrongfully dissipate marital assets, neither party should incur additional marital debt, and insurance policies should remain in place. If either party violates this order during the pendency of the court proceedings, he or she can be held in contempt of court and face various potential consequences.
When the parties decide to avoid the emotional and financial trauma of an adversarial divorce, and instead seek to resolve all the issues through pre-suit mediation, there is no such Standing Order, as by definition pre-suit mediation occurs before any documents are filed with the court. Under these circumstances, the parties are under no court-ordered compulsion to maintain the financial status quo. However, at Healthy Family Mediation Center, we strongly encourage couples going through pre-suit mediation to nevertheless maintain the financial status quo, just as if a Standing Order had been issued, as a matter of good faith that demonstrates their commitment to an open, honest and fair discussion of the issues, and their desire to successfully resolve such issues though affordable pre-suit mediation instead of costly and damaging litigation. If one or both parties are engaging in sneaky financial maneuverings, it will undermine the entire concept of pre-suit mediation, and will make it difficult to establish the open channels of communication that are needed to ensure a successful outcome.
Please contact us today or visit us at www.healthyfamilymediation.com to learn more about pre-suit family mediation, and how this process can help couples avoid the wounds and scars that so often result from a traditional contested divorce and make it difficult for them to move forward to a new phase of life in a healthy and optimistic manner.