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This author healthyfamilymediation has created 30 entries.

Calculating Child Support in a Florida Divorce

Whenever a divorcing couple shares minor children, the court will require the parties to submit child support guidelines before finalizing their divorce.  This issue can often become a sore spot, which is unfortunate, because Florida law is very clear on child support, and it is calculated based on a statutory schedule that is mandatory absent exceptionally rare circumstances.   There are only two essential factors at play in calculating child support, together with a handful of other factors that may or may

In these troubled times, pre-suit divorce mediation is needed more than ever.

We live in troubled times, and no matter what your opinions may be on the issues facing our country and world today, we can all agree that society has radically changed for the worse.  America used to be the great marketplace of ideas, and we prided ourselves on the fact that we had the freedom to agree to disagree with our government, family, friends and neighbors.  We could vigorously debate a point with family and friends, and afterward still gather

Issues to be determined in a Florida divorce

When I meet with couples for an initial consultation to discuss pre-suit divorce mediation and explain why that process is healthier and more affordable than traditional contested divorce litigation in the courts, one of the first things they want to know is what issues need to be addressed and resolved in connection with their divorce.  While it goes without saying that every couple’s factual circumstances are unique, the issues can be boiled down to a few categories that are generally

Pre-suit Mediation Gives Most People the Opportunity to Avoid Costly Legal Fees When Divorcing

Although I was a trial lawyer for more than 20 years, I have completely stopped practicing law, and have turned my focus exclusively to pre-suit divorce mediation.  The pre-suit mediation process allows couples to avoid the adversarial, attorney-driven system that is so typical, and to focus on the issues in a more cooperative manner.   As a mediator, I am ethically precluded from providing either party with legal advice.  However, I am very familiar with Florida law governing divorces, having formerly practiced

Florida law requires divorcing parents with minor children to complete an approved parenting class before the divorce can be finalized.

Many parents with minor children that meet with me to discuss pre-suit divorce mediation are surprised and annoyed when they hear that attending a parenting class is required before the court can finalize the divorce.  When the rationale underlying this requirement is explained, however, it becomes clear that a mandatory parenting class is a good idea that can only benefit the children.   The Florida Legislature has set forth the specific reasons for this requirement directly in Section 61.21 of the Florida

Pre-suit divorce mediation give the parties the opportunity to conclude their divorce in a matter of weeks, at a fraction of the cost of traditional contested divorce litigation.

One of the most common questions I’ve been asked about divorce over the years is how long the process takes to be completed.  There are many variables that go into answering this question, but one thing is certain—pre-suit mediation provides a much quicker path to the end of the divorce process, and at a substantially reduced cost.   In Florida, the average contested divorce takes approximately one year, and the length of time can increase dramatically if the issues are particularly complex

Family pets are sometimes the subject of expensive and emotional litigation, and it benefits both spouses to settle such issues through pre-suit mediation.

Most of us that adopt pets agree to a lifelong commitment to care for the pet the rest of its life, and we all know what a deep emotional connection people have to their pets.  Many people develop a profound love for their pets and develop a sense of obligation to care for their pet’s well-being that is similar in some respects to the way parents care about their children, especially for couples that never have children.  When relationships break

Couples can still take advantage of pre-suit divorce mediation even if one spouse has already moved a distance away, so long as at least one party meets the necessary Florida residency requirement.

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

Maintaining the financial status quo during pre-suit divorce mediation provides the best chances for the parties to reach a mediated settlement and avoid an expensive and lengthy adversarial divorce.

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

Whether you mediate or litigate your divorce, don’t forget to take care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.

Everyone knows how traumatic divorce can be, even when the parties agree on all or most of the issues.  While the effects of divorce vary from person to person, it is fairly common for most people to experience some level of anxiety when contemplating all the changes and uncertainty for the future, and even the best case scenario still involves a shift of one’s identity as a married person, and such a change can be a difficult adjustment, particularly when