Divorce is one of the most stressful events one can experience in life. And if the divorce is adversarial, as is sometimes the situation, it is even more stressful.
We many times recommend a courtless divorce process such as mediation or Collaborative Divorce. Avoiding litigation should be the first course of action to consider because litigation is the most expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining divorce option there is. That being said, we understand that there are situations where there is no other choice other than preparing a case to go before a judge.
As in all aspects of our practice, we help our clients through the litigated divorce process professionally and with a high level of ethics. This is critical in the divorce industry where the incentives for the professionals involved are sadly perverted, meaning, the more conflict between the couple, especially in a high net-worth situation, the more revenue for the attorneys involved.
While we advocate for our clients and work to get a fair and proper outcome in their divorce, we also keep make great efforts to relieve our client’s from the stresses of the process, the fall out from unnecessary litigation and we help to guide our client’s to seek what is best for the children involved.
When is Divorce Litigation Necessary?
After our courtless options such as mediation and the Collaborative Process have been first explored and these options either prove to be not available or have not produced the intended result, litigation may need to be considered as the next viable option.
Though, approximately 95% of litigated cases settled before arriving before a scheduled trial, it is important to acknowledge that trials sometimes can’t be avoided. In fact, in cases that involve situations where domestic violence or substance abuse is involved or even where a spouse is exhibiting criminal behavior, it may be preferable to have a judge make a ruling.
Steps to Prepare for Divorce
No matter what process of divorce process you choose, it is important to get your documents together. These include financial documents such as bank statements and tax returns, insurance policies, leases for rental properties, titles/loan statements for property owned jointly or separately like cars, boats or homes; personal documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, and any prenuptial agreements that may have been drawn up.
Document personal items of value. Protect things of particular value to you such as family heirlooms, photos, jewelry or other property that belonged to you prior to the marriage. Take pictures of jointly owned items that you want to ensure are discussed in the divorce.
Maintain friendly relations. Divorces that are hostile take longer and are more expensive and stressful as a result. Work to be as friendly and fair as you can. This will not only make the entire process easier on you, it will benefit your children and all other friend and family connections.
Plan your future. It is important to map out your future and determine how you will provide for yourself following divorce. This is especially important when children are involved. If you are already employed, continue working. A divorce brings many changes in the day-to-day life of the family, if you don’t absolutely have to change jobs, don’t. If you are not currently working, it may be wise to start searching the job market to identify your income earning opportunities. Additionally, it may be wise to start planning living arrangements for the time period during and after the divorce.
Hire an attorney to guide and advocate for you. There are many things to consider when getting a divorce. Having an experienced professional in your corner can make all the difference as you take action and make decisions that will have long term implications.
Contact the Donovan Melendez Law Office in Tampa Bay for Help
Mr. Donovan and Mr. Melendez have years of experience with litigated divorce cases. For information about your options and how we can help, reach out to us at 813-280-0181.