If you cannot agree regarding the division of assets, getting a mediator involved is a logical next step. A mediator is a neutral third party who can help you come up with creative, “out of the box” solutions that a judge is unable to offer.
You can present the issue to the court, but the final decision is out of your hands once you put that issue in front of a judge. In most instances, you will reserve that option for your larger assets. Wasting time and money fighting over small items of personal property that have little value is not a good use of your resources. For example, we once had a case where the spouses were arguing over who got to keep a pool cleaner worth less than a few hundred dollars. Such minor issues serve as a distraction from the more important ones. You should try and address issues involving smaller assets during mediation. But once the case is in front of the judge, the decision belongs solely to the judge.
What Exactly Is A Prenuptial Agreement And Who Needs One? What Can It Actually Protect?
A prenuptial (aka “premarital”) agreement is a written agreement a couple enters into in anticipation of marriage (before marriage), and is advantageous when one or both of the parties has significant assets. For example, if you own your own home, own other properties, or have rental income, you might want a prenuptial agreement. In the event of a divorce, the assets listed in the prenuptial agreement would not be included in any divorce settlement. Unlike many other states, Florida allows prenuptial agreements to address spousal support (“alimony”). However, they cannot discuss child-related issues such as child support, timesharing, or parenting plans.
A prenuptial agreement is perfect for saving future headaches in the event of a divorce. It will save time litigating about those specific assets and/or issues. As long as the document is drafted properly by a qualified attorney, it will be enforceable in Florida. For people with a significant amount of high-value assets, we definitely recommend a prenuptial agreement.
What About A Postnuptial Agreement? Are These Commonly Used Or Should They Be Used And What Can They Protect Once You’re Actually Married Already?
In our experience, couples do not enter into postnuptial agreements as frequently as prenuptial agreements, but they serve a similar function. The difference is that a postnuptial agreement is an agreement you make with your spouse after you are already married. In some cases, couples with blended families use them for estate planning purposes. Additionally, postnuptial agreements are easier to uphold in court because enforceability issues such as duress typically don’t apply and both spouses have already fully disclosed their assets to each other.
Can I Handle My Florida Divorce On My Own Or Do I Absolutely Need An Experienced Divorce Attorney?
It is not in your best interest to go through this process alone. Your Florida attorney has gone through at least three years of law school and four years of undergraduate education to learn how to effectively represent you in court. So just filling out paperwork online is not going to give you the same results, and that paperwork might not even be current. The lawyers are trained in the rules of court, as well as the rules of civil procedure, so they can adequately preserve any issues that might arise for appeal. Some of the biggest issues we see occur when people try to represent themselves. As a result, they do not handle things properly and then need an attorney’s help to clean up the mess. Cleaning up a case that was mishandled can actually cost more money in the long run. Once a case is final or you have already entered into a marital settlement agreement, it is difficult to appeal if you did not handle the case properly.
It is important to note that a court isn’t going to treat you any differently because you don’t have an attorney. You’re expected to know and follow the same rules and procedures as the attorneys, and the court system can be very foreign to most people. It’s not as simple as just filling out a form or two, and it isn’t like what you see on tv. Having an attorney that specializes in family law protects your interests.
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