The legal term pro se means, “for oneself”. And if you’re considering a pro se divorce (Do It Yourself), you probably have questions about your specific situation.  Many pro se divorce couples believe they must visit a lawyer to file an initial court action. That’s not true in Florida, where mediation is available before anyone files a court action. The Florida Supreme Court certifies mediators to help pro se divorce couples resolve even the most difficult conflicts without ever involving a lawyer. In other words, mediation is not just for uncontested divorces; it is available to help you resolve all the issues that you have been unable to resolve on your own.

You can do this! I can help you Achieve a Sensible Divorce

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I am a mediator dedicated to helping divorcing couples negotiate and resolve their differences so that they can get divorced with as little turmoil and heartache as possible.

There were approximately 75,000 divorces in Florida last year, no two of which were exactly the same. Nevertheless, many couples got divorced and did it themselves, without doing irrevocable damage to themselves or their children. Some needed guidance in filling out the forms. Others managed to resolve some but not all of their issues and needed help in negotiating and settling the ones that remained. Finally, there were people who were dead-set on fighting until the bitter end and required a judge to call winners and losers. If you have decided together to avoid being in the last category of couples, here’s what I can do to help you take a sensible divorce across the finish line:

  • ...help you develop a working agenda that includes all of the issues that your particular circumstances require that you deal with.
  • ...help you negotiate a settlement of the issues that have kept you from reaching a comprehensive agreement.
  • ...help you in writing your agreement,
  • ...ensure you have filled out the forms correctly
  • ...send you confidently on your way to the Clerk of Court to begin your DIY divorce

Avoiding Court

Divorce is stressful and courtrooms are stressful places. Why combine the two when couples can resolve the complicated, emotional issues of divorce without ever entering a courtroom? Mediation provides a less stressful, more sensible venue for negotiating the many thorny issues involved in ending a marriage. A mediator will not only facilitate the process, but also allow both parties (and their children) to move forward with their lives more easily.

The mediation process is confidential and informal. You maintain control over the process, and you – not a judge! – decide the outcome. An impartial mediator assists both parties in resolving the issues they must confront, allowing them to reach an agreement that makes sense to them. Mediators present practical, creative solutions that are tailored to each couple’s specific needs.

“You – not a judge! – decide the outcome”

Mediation can resolve even the most hotly contested issues, including:

  • Time sharing with children
  • Child support
  • Division of marital assets
  • Alimony

Pro se mediated divorce has many advantages:

  • Avoid hiring separate lawyers and paying two retainers
  • Avoid depositions, interrogatories, hearings and a trial
  • Control the outcome to meet your needs and those of your children
  • Finish in a reasonable time frame

Choosing the right Divorce mediator

Family mediators should have an in-depth understanding of family law. One of the important services provided by a family mediator is assistance in completing the forms required by the Court. These may include a Marital Settlement Agreement, financial affidavits and the forms that relate to children. The divorce process is, after all, a legal process and familiarity with the law is essential.

The Florida Supreme Court certification process does ensure competency with legal matters, but it is also important to choose a mediator to whom you’re both comfortable talking. In this regard, an experienced mediator will have worked with a wider range of personalities. Take the time to chat informally with your prospective mediator about your needs as a couple before making a final decision.

“Choose a mediator who you’re both comfortable talking to”

Non-married couples

Non-married  couples who wish to separate face many of the same challenges as married couples. Their lives become intertwined both emotionally and financially. Mediation offers sensible, binding solutions to financial, property, sweat equity and custody disputes.

How I can help?

I have been mediating divorces since 1989. I draw on more than 25 years of experience as a lawyer representing both husbands and wives in contentious and difficult divorces. I have developed a reputation for engaging even the most reluctant divorce participants and helping them actively participate in the mediation process to achieve reasoned, enduring outcomes.

I will also help you complete the necessary forms and draft an enforceable settlement agreement that accurately reflects the terms of your settlement. Thereafter, I recommend that a lawyer review the document to provide an independent opinion. This ensures that the written agreement matches your exact understanding. That way, my clients pay only for the time it takes to work through the issues of their divorce.

For more information about me online, read about my experience and view my resume. Or better yet, call and introduce yourself.