Divorce is never easy, but when children are involved, it can be even more difficult. However, it does not have to be.
In Florida, the parents must determine how to best split their time with their children and what arrangements need to be made for child support and other expenses. This process, known as mediation, is required before filing for divorce. It is required in order to try to come to an agreement about the issues surrounding childcare. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court will make decisions based on the best interests of the children.
However, there are many benefits to mediation, including that it can be less expensive and take less time than going to court.
Grounds for Divorce in Florida
Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means that either party in a marriage may file for divorce without having to allege any wrongdoing by the other party. The two acceptable grounds for divorce under this “no-fault” rule in Florida are irreconcilable differences and mental incapacity.
For example, if one spouse has been living separately from the other for a while, the separation will likely be considered permanent, and the spouse may file for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Other types of irreconcilable differences may include having different religious beliefs, different parenting styles, and addictions, among others.
The types of mental incapacity in Florida divorce are defined in section 744.331, Florida Statutes. These include:
- A lack of intelligence or comprehension;
- A lack of understanding or memory;
- An inability to reason or make decisions;
- An inability to communicate.
If a party alleges that the other party is mentally incapacitated, the party may file a petition for “no-fault” divorce on this ground.
Types of Divorce in Florida
In Florida, there are three types of divorce: simplified dissolution of marriage, uncontested divorce, and contested divorce.
A simplified dissolution of marriage is a quick and easy way to get divorced. To qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage, you must meet certain requirements, such as having no children and agreeing on how to divide your property.
An uncontested divorce is also relatively quick and easy to obtain. In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree on all terms of the divorce via mediation, including child custody, child support, and property division.
A contested divorce is more complicated and can take longer to resolve. In a contested divorce, the parties do not agree on all terms of the divorce that have been discussed during mediation. The parties must thus attend a hearing before a judge, who will decide how to divide the property, how to divide the children, and other important issues; the judge will make all of the decisions for them.
What Happens After a Person Files for Divorce in Florida?
After an individual files for a divorce in Florida, the next step is usually to serve the papers to the other spouse. The papers will state details about the proposed divorce. If the other spouse contests the divorce, they will have a chance to argue their case in front of a judge. If they do not contest it, the divorce can proceed without a hearing. In either case, both spouses will have to attend mediation.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process where spouses can work out the terms of their divorce with the help of a neutral third party, called a mediator. The mediator helps the spouses communicate and negotiate until they reach an agreement on all aspects of their divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Unlike a traditional divorce where the spouses argue in court and the judge makes all the decisions, mediation allows the spouses to have more control over their divorce.
Mediation is especially beneficial for couples who want to avoid lengthy litigation and keep their divorce as amicable as possible. In addition to being less expensive than a traditional divorce, mediation also often results in a more fair and balanced settlement agreement. Couples who mediate are also noted to be more likely to follow through with the terms of their agreement than those who go to court.
Is Divorce Mediation Like a Court Proceeding?
Some people think that divorce mediation is similar to a court proceeding, but there are actually several key differences. In a court proceeding, the judge will make decisions about child custody, property division, and alimony. In mediation, the couple works together to come up with their own agreements.
Another difference is that the mediator does not decide anything for the couple, but instead helps them come to an agreement. The mediator works with the couple to help them reach their own decisions based on their own unique situation and interests.
The Benefits of Mediation in a Divorce With Kids
A contested divorce can quickly turn into a battle of wills, with each parent trying to make the other look bad in front of the kids. This can leave the children feeling stuck in the middle and torn between the two parents.
Mediation can help divorcing parents come to an agreement without having to go “battle it out” in court. In mediation, both parents meet with a mediator who helps them negotiate an agreement. This process can be less stressful for the children, since they don’t have to worry about their parents “fighting” in court. Mediation also allows both parents to have a say in the decisions that affect their children.
Generally, the following goals are often achieved:
- The parents have more control;
- The kids feel more secure;
- Resolution is reached more quickly;
- The kids are less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety;
- The kids are more likely to cooperate with the process.
You Can Count on Our Florida Divorce Lawyers for Support
Divorce with kids can be difficult, but it is possible to make it easier with the help of mediation. If you are considering a divorce, or are in the middle of one, please reach out for help. The mediators and attorneys at The Law Firm of Anthony J. Diaz can assist you in working through all the complicated issues that come up during a divorce, and can help you reach a settlement that is best for your family.
Contact us today to get started.