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

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

Mediation is generally required at some point in a traditional contested divorce, so it makes sense to attempt a settlement before the divorce is even filed.

In most cases, the judge presiding over a traditional contested divorce will require the parties to attempt a settlement through mediation before they are even given a trial date.  Court dockets are more crowded than ever, and as a result courts will generally refuse to resolve disputed issues through trial until the parties have made a good faith effort to address those issues themselves.   The facts of each case are different, but in general, most people go

A postnuptial agreement can provide certainty and security even when a couple remains legally married.

I am often asked whether I am available to assist with a legal separation. The State of Florida does not recognize a traditional legal separation, unlike many other states that do allow married couples to legally separate. However, if you are not quite ready to move forward with a divorce, or you are going through counselling or other attempts to save the marriage, you can still mediate and enter into a postnuptial agreement with your spouse, which can effectively accomplish the same thing as

Healthy Family Mediation Center provides affordable document-preparation services even if you and your spouse have already agreed on the terms of the divorce and do not need mediation.

I often meet with couples who tell me they have already worked out the terms of their divorce settlement, and simply need assistance getting everything down on paper in a format that will be acceptable and enforceable by the court. The Supreme Court of Florida has created forms for divorcing couples that cover most circumstances, especially when the parties are cooperating through the process, but often couples are so busy with work and their parenting duties that they simply don’t have time

Listening during divorce mediation is one of the most important factors for a successful outcome.

I recently heard someone say that we were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason, namely that we should listen twice as much as we speak.  Listening to the other party, as opposed to merely hearing him or her, is a critical aspect of a successful divorce mediation, and it cannot be emphasized enough.   It goes without saying that most couples facing divorce are angry and hurting, and there is frequently a betrayal of some sort involved in