Every so often I will have an initial consultation with someone who informs me that his or her spouse has already moved out of Florida and asks whether it is still possible to engage in pre-suit mediation under these circumstances. The answer is a resounding YES, provided at least one of the parties can meet the Florida residency requirement and so long as each party is committed to the process of pre-suit mediation.
In all cases, before anyone is eligible to file for divorce in Florida, one of the parties must establish that he or she has been a resident of Florida for at least six months prior to the filing of the case, which is a requirement of Florida law. This is typically done by filing with the court a copy of a party’s Florida driver’s license that was issued at least six months prior to the divorce being filed, and is a very straightforward process.
Although I generally prefer to hold mediation sessions with both spouses present in the same room, parties that are already residing a substantial distance from each other can still take advantage of all the benefits of pre-suit mediation and avoid the emotional and financial turmoil that so typically comes in a traditional adversarial divorce proceeding. Sometimes the absent spouse participates in mediation by telephone, and other times I engage in a shuttle diplomacy in which I speak to each party separately, which is also known as caucusing. Frequently we will use a combination of these methods. One of the great advantages of pre-suit mediation is flexibility, and provided both spouses are willing to participate in the process in good faith, we can coordinate mediation with whatever arrangements work best for each particular couple.
Please contact us at Healthy Family Mediation Center, or call us at (239) 529-3549, to learn why you should consider pre-suit divorce mediation, even if you are already separated and living far apart.