If you are on this page, you are most likely involved in a divorce where the parties are not in complete agreement on all issues. I am sure by now you have heard all of the horror stories of how nasty and expensive a divorce can be. Nasty is something that the parties can control. Costs depends on the direction you choose when getting a divorce.
The most expensive divorce is usually when each party is represented by an attorney. Sometimes this is your only option. The parties cannot be civil with each other. They hire an attorney to handle discussions with their spouse. Of course this takes extra time, and time is money. In this type of case, the issues are going to be resolved in a court trial. If this is your situation, you should hire the best attorney you can afford. You should however be aware of the statistics. 95% of all divorce cases filed in court are resolved in mediation. Only 5% are set for trial. Of these. only 3% actually get tried in court. Perhaps it makes monetary sense to investigate the possibility that your case could be handled in mediation.
Twenty five years ago, this was your only option. Divorces were handled by attorney's. About this time the court system embraced a new concept. It was called mediation. The parties meet and talk directly to each other with the assistance of a fair and impartial third party.
If you are going to try your case in court, then pick a board certified matrimonial attorney who is a trial lawyer. If you are going to use the mediation approach to divorce, pick a mediator with a background in the area of your disputed issues.
Allan J. Weltman, Family Mediator
Example, if your issues are division of property and debt, then pick a mediator with a financial background. Keep in mind, that unlike attorney's, a mediator does not advise you of what to do. But with the proper background, the mediator can assist you in resolving the issues that are the most important to you.
One of the best reasons you should use mediation is, if you are going to represent yourself in court. In other words a divorce without attorney's and the documents are prepared by an on line document company. Some parties can resolve their issues without assistance. But putting the agreement on paper and covering all of the bases is very important. Both mediators and attorney are trained to do this properly. There is nothing more problematic than an agreement that does not say what the parties meant for it to say. Changing an agreement later on can be costly. Most likely more than it would have cost to do it property the first time.
As mediation gained acceptance in Florida, the services rendered by mediators changed. Mediators cannot by regulation provide additional services to you during mediation. Example, a mediator who is a realtor cannot offer to sell your home. However a mediator who is a document specialist can provide you with divorce documentation, provided you make arrangements to do this prior to the start of mediation. The Divorce and Bankruptcy Center was one of the first firms providing this type of service. It is important to note, that parties using this type of service may want to have documents prepared for them including the Settlement Agreement reviewed by an attorney of their own choosing. Remember mediators and non attorney's cannot provide legal advice. There are attorney's who provide this service for a reasonable cost.
Mediation and Divorce out side of Court.
You will be hearing more about this type of service as it starts to evolve. At the present time it is in its preliminary stages. The Divorce & Bankruptcy Center has been offering divorce with no court hearings for the past year. Let me explain. Mediation takes place, and the parties resolve their issues. Divorce documentation is completed by the mediator. The divorce documents are submitted to the court for review by a Judge. The Judge approves the paperwork . A final hearing is not required. No one appears in court. Each party receives a Final Judgment, Dissolution of Marriage in the mail.
Statewide Mediation Service
Most mediators only work in a local area. The Divorce & Bankruptcy Center has virtual offices in every major city in Florida. We can be where you are when you need us. This is especially important when the parties reside in different cities in Florida Our firm owns its own aircraft, and can be in any Florida city in less than an hour. We do not charge you for travel time or costs.
Cost of Mediation Plus Document Service.
The cost of Divorce Mediation and Document Service is substantially less than the parties would pay for two attorney's. You can plan on paying about $2,500 for mediation and divorce documentation. We are currently the only mediation/documentation firm that can complete your mediation, prepare your documentation and you will not be required to attend any court hearings. The entire divorce process is handled in our offices and outside of court. Yes it is legal, a Judge still signs your divorce decree.