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

Family mediation is not limited to divorce, and is also available to help unmarried parents end their relationship in a way that protects their children’s best interests.

In our current society, with more accepting and less judgmental attitudes, many couples in committed relationships are deciding to have children with no intention of ever getting married.  When parents in these circumstances no longer wish to be together, they can end their relationship without addressing the marital issues that are involved in a typical divorce.  However, the children still need to be provided for in a way that protects their best interests, and even if the parties agree on

Family mediation is beneficial even if you are already divorced, and should be your first choice when considering a modification.

Even when your divorce has already been finalized, Florida law allows for the modification of most aspects of the final judgment under certain conditions, excluding the equitable distribution of marital property, which can never be modified under any circumstances.   Specifically, if alimony was awarded in the initial divorce judgment, and there has been an unexpected, involuntary and substantial change in circumstances that affects the paying party’s ability to pay or the receiving party’s need for support, the alimony payment may be

Statements made during divorce mediation should be kept confidential, even from close friends and family, to maximize the opportunity for a successful outcome.

I have previously discussed the importance of confidentiality in divorce mediation and why that confidence is required under Florida law.  The parties need to be able to openly discuss their thoughts and feelings without fear that such statements could be used to their disadvantage if the negotiation breaks down and litigation becomes necessary.   Most people have close friends and family members that are turned to for emotional support during stressful times, and it goes without saying that

Avoid costly and emotional post-judgment litigation—take control of your own destiny when divorcing.

Everyone knows how costly and time-consuming a traditional litigated divorce can be, and when the final decisions are made by a judge instead of the parties, the end result can be disappointing to say the least for one or both of you.  The divorce court generally retains the ability to enforce or modify certain aspects of a final judgment, and unfortunately, many divorced people find themselves back in court time and time again for various reasons, particularly when

The two basic requirements of any mediation are the parties’ willingness to have a dialogue and mutual full disclosure.

While a successful divorce or family mediation often involves many different factors and moving parts, when the process is boiled down to its basics, there are only two elements that must exist for the mediation to move forward in a productive manner, namely the willingness of both parties to dialogue and the agreement that each party will fully disclose to the other all relevant information. As to the first requirement, it is impossible for a mediation to proceed without both parties

Avoid costly and uncertain billable hours and take control with pre-suit divorce mediation

I was a practicing trial attorney for more than 20 years, and while I enjoyed that work immensely, I ultimately grew to despise one of the fundamental aspects of most law practices, the billable hour.  Going through a divorce is stressful enough under the best of circumstances.  The uncertainty that accompanies a billable hour attorney fee structure only compounds the stress and trauma, and when a divorce drags on for months or years, with the money flowing out