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Our answers to these frequently-asked questions are designed to help you understand marital and family law and to explain some of our processes. The law and the individual circumstances of your case may vary and may affect the results of each case differently.

1What is mediation?

Any family law matter can be mediated, potentially avoiding the stress and expense of going to court. In divorce, all cases must go through mediation prior to being set for any hearing before a judge. Mediation is a non-contentious, cost-effective way to finalize a family law matter.

Mediation involves a neutral third party, who assists both sides to come to a resolution of the matter.

In divorce, Florida law requires the parties to mediate before having the matter be heard in court. If mediation is successful:

  • the mediator or attorney will draft an agreement
  • the parties sign it
  • it is filed with the court

If this settles all matters, then a final judgment is entered at a final hearing.

If mediation is not successful, then the matter is set to go before the court.

Click here for more information on mediation.

2What is collaborative law?

Collaborative law is a way to resolve your family law differences without going to court – by focusing upon settlement, not conflict. Through this process, the couple, not the lawyers or judges, maintains control of the outcome, working together toward an acceptable settlement.

This process helps you avoid the financial and emotional expenses of litigation. A collaborative case is generally less expensive, quicker, more private and achieves more desirable results than traditional litigation.

An agreement is signed that states all parties agree to negotiate in good faith. If this attempts fails, the attorneys must withdraw from the case and the clients will have to hire new counsel.

Click here for more information on collaborative law.

3Is a trial necessary for my family law issue?

Ninety percent of cases that our firm represents settle without a trial. This is accomplished by using alternative approaches to family law including:

  • Mediation
  • Collaborative law
  • Settlement agreements

If one or both parties cannot be reasonable in developing resolution to your family law matter, it will probably require a trial.

Click here for more information on mediation.

Click here for more information on collaborative law.

Click here for more information on divorce.

4What should I know about settlement conferences?

Should your case fail at mediation, settlement conferences between the parties and their attorneys will occur during the course of your case.

If an agreement is reached, a settlement agreement is:

  • drafted
  • signed by the parties
  • filed with the court

Then a final hearing is scheduled.

Click here for more information on divorce.

5What should I do to prepare myself if I am served with divorce papers, or if I am serving divorce papers?

Knowing your assets and liabilities is a start.

  • Gather copies of financial statements (savings, checking, investments, or statements of other assets).
  • Collect copies of important documents including payroll records and insurance.
  • Determine your monthly expenses (household, children, auto, etc.)
  • Gather evidence of any issues that are significant to your divorce (domestic violence, child related issues, documents, etc.)

If you are served with an original petition for divorce, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney, if you do not already have one. You only have 20 days from the date you were served to file an answer to the court. Otherwise your spouse may obtain a default judgment against you.

Click here for more information on divorce.

6What happens in my first consultation?

Your consultation allows us to develop a scope of the issues of your family law issue. We do not offer a free consultation. Our attorneys are not available for consult by phone or email prior to a consultation. All consultation appointments are made through our scheduler. Consultations may be in person at our offices or via phone or internet video chat.

Retainer fees are determined by the issues in your case, including if it is contested versus uncontested. The fee is discussed in your consultation. We accept credit card payments.

7I am an existing client. How do I make a retainer fee payment?

Existing clients can click here to make a secure retainer payment.