Options for Resolving Conflicts in Divorce
Making the decision to end your marriage is the first step in what can be a long process. Even in divorce proceedings where couples are on relatively amicable terms, conflicts can arise in a number of areas. Decisions made during these proceedings can impact you now and for years into the future. Before reaching any agreements or accepting any settlements, it is important to be aware of your options.
Common Areas of Conflict in Divorce
Under the Florida divorce statutes, the only thing required for a couple to get a divorce is to file a petition claiming that they have ‘irreconcilable differences’. However, there are important issues which must be resolved before a final divorce order can be issued. Even if you and your spouse agree on ending the marriage, disagreements can arise in these areas. Among the most common conflicts in divorce proceedings center around the following:
- Division of marital property: This includes items such as homes, cars, and personal belongings.
- Division of marital assets: This include money in savings and investment accounts, as well as retirement benefits.
- Division of marital debts: This includes your mortgage, car payments, personal loans, credit cards, and any other debts accumulated since you got married.
- Spousal support: When one party makes significantly more than the other, spousal support may be in order.
- Child time sharing: If there are children of the marriage, you will need to work out a parenting plan.
- Child support: While there are general guidelines the court follows, there may be special considerations which could impact the amount paid.
Resolving Divorce Conflicts
There are three primary options in resolving divorce related conflicts. These include:
- Negotiating a marital settlement agreement (MSA): This involves sitting down with you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys to review the situation and negotiate an agreement. Evidence and information from both sides can be presented in these meetings and numerous offers may be considered before a settlement can be reached. Once you and your spouse agree to the terms, your MSA can then be submitted to the judge for approval.
- Going through mediation: The Florida Courts offer mediation as an option for couples who are unable to reach settlements. This involves meeting with an impartial third party approved by the court, who will listen to both sides of any disputes. They will offer suggestions on how to resolve conflicts and issue a report to the court on the session. You are not obligated to follow their suggestions.
- Having the judge issue an order: If couples are unable to resolve the conflicts between them, the judge will review all the evidence, as well as any reports from a mediator, and issue a final order in the case.
Contact Us Today for Professional Help
Reaching a settlement in your divorce is often preferable to having a judge decide important issues on your behalf. Before settling for an order or an agreement that may not be in your best interests, reach out to attorney Vanessa L. Prieto first. To schedule a consultation, contact our Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney today.