A divorce attorney must understand both cooperation and advocacy

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Our Orlando law firm has been helping families going through dissolution of marriage, or divorce, in central Florida for over 35 years. That experience is a testament not only to our knowledge of the legal issues that may arise in a divorce, but also our passion to our work. We find it very rewarding to help families through a potentially difficult transition, doing our best to protect their interests and minimize conflicts.

Where possible, we encourage our clients to negotiate their issues with a minimum of court involvement. A number of procedures encourage such cooperation. For example, a petition for dissolution of marriage filing triggers certain court deadlines. Within 45 days after service of the petition, the parties must exchange completed financial affidavits, supported by certain financial documents. That automatic financial disclosure provides a frame of reference for determining many of the material issues in a divorce, including property division, responsibility for debts of the marital estate, and spousal support.

Another court procedure that encourages cooperation among divorcing parties is mediation. A court-sponsored mediator often meets with each party and his or her attorney separately, identifying disagreements and priorities. The mediator may also convene one or more joint meetings with the parties before offering settlement proposals. Notably, the mediation is not binding. Thus, court proceedings will resume if the parties reject the mediator's proposals, presumably also upon the advice of their attorneys.

Of course, there may be some issues that the parties in a divorce cannot resolve without court assistance. We have the experience to prepare a strong case at court, utilizing testimony applicable to the issue, such as financial experts or child psychologists. Our law firm has helped clients with the various types of Florida divorce proceedings, including contested and uncontested divorces, settlements at mediation, and even post-divorce proceedings necessitated by a change in circumstances.

Source: “Divorce in Florida,” copyright 2016, The Florida Bar

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