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Various Kinds of Florida Divorce Processes

Various Kinds of Florida Divorce Processes

When most people think about the divorce process, they picture a man and a woman fighting over assets before a judge in a courtroom, but what if there was a different way? In this blog post, Owenby Law will discuss and explain the various kinds of Florida divorce processes available to people separating in the sunshine state.

No-Fault Divorce

Before we discuss Florida divorce processes, we must talk about no-fault and fault-based divorces. In some states, spouses can file for fault-based divorces. A fault-based divorce is where one of the spouses legally blames another spouse for causing the split.

Common causes for fault-based divorces include:

  • Adultery;
  • Impotence; and
  • Abuse.

However, Florida does not allow spouses to file for fault-based divorces, which makes Florida a no-fault divorce state.

A no-fault divorce is when a spouse files for divorce based on the marriage’s “irretrievably broken” state. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is blamed for causing the breakdown of the marriage; it’s only stated that the marriage is broken.

The benefits of a no-fault divorce include the following:

  • The petitioner (the spouse who files for the divorce) doesn’t have to prove anything to obtain a divorce.
  • The respondent (the spouse who receives the divorce papers from the petitioner) cannot stop the divorce from taking place (but can fight for things like child custody and alimony).
  • The divorce proceedings are fast because the petitioner doesn’t have to prove the respondent is at fault.

Florida is a no-fault divorce state, which means all divorces in Florida are no-fault divorces. However, couples can use the process of their choice to obtain a no-fault divorce. We will now examine the various divorce processes available to Florida residents.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process is different from the traditional court-ordered divorce process in several ways. First, the spouses decide when and where they will discuss the outcomes of their divorce when going through the mediation process. There are no mandated court dates, only jointly decided meetings during agreed upon times.

Second, a judge doesn’t take part in the process until the divorce decree is ready to be signed.  Therefore, the mediation process has no court-ordered mandates, which means that spouses have full control of the outcomes of their divorces.

Third, neither spouse has representation during a mediation process. The two spouses meet with an unbiased third-party representative who walks them through the various aspects of their divorce. Therefore, divorce mediation is typically less expensive than a traditional divorce process.

Fourth, nothing about a divorce is set in stone until a judge signs the decree. In a traditional divorce, the judge makes rulings throughout the process that can’t be changed (unless there is a change in circumstances.) Therefore, the mediation process is better suited for couples who want more control over the process.

Fifth, the mediation process is more collaborative than the traditional approach. Couples are not “against” each other during the mediation process, but are tasked to agree on various divorce issues through compromises. 

The Traditional Process

If spouses have a hard time collaborating, the traditional divorce process is arguably the best approach. In a conventional divorce, both spouses may have representatives, and a judge will preside over the case.

In a traditional divorce process, the judge will have the final say about the outcomes of the couple’s divorce. These decisions cannot be overturned unless there is a change of circumstances that impacts the judge’s decrees. Therefore, couples are forced to follow mandated court orders in traditional divorce processes.

As spouses must fight for their rights to property, child custody, and other divorce outcomes during the traditional process, they should hire experienced attorneys to represent their needs. A divorce attorney understands the procedures of a conventional divorce and can help clients make the most of their divorces. 

A Mixed-Process Approach

What many people don’t realize is that they can use a mixture of mediation and traditional divorce proceedings. Using a combination of both processes can help spouses save time and money on their divorce.

When spouses use a mixed approach, they will want to start the process with mediation. As mediation is the least costly of the two procedures, couples can figure out a plethora of divorce outcomes before they ever meet in court.

Additionally, couples can use the mediation process to determine pain points within the divorce. Discovering these pain points during the mediation processes helps each spouse appropriately prepare for the traditional process. This decreases the amount of time the traditional method takes, thus saving money for both spouses in the long run.

Once a couple uses the mediation process to determine where they stand, they can take the work they’ve accomplished into the traditional process. Once the traditional process starts, the judge will skip over aspects of the divorce that the couple has already agreed upon during mediation and will only focus on the problematic issues.

Talk to a Divorce Attorney Today!

Regardless of the process you want to use; you’ll want an experienced divorce attorney’s help. An experienced attorney can either help a couple navigate the mediation process or represent one spouse during the traditional process.

If you’re looking for mediation services or a personal divorce representative, call (904) 770-3141 now to set up a consultation!

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