Hi, this is Travis Walker with The Law Offices of Travis R. Walker in Stuart, Florida.
One of the questions regarding divorce that we get asked a lot are “What are the major steps or what can I anticipate?”
First, there’s obviously the filing of the petition for divorce, and the answer from the other side to that petition for divorce. Once the petition and answer and potentially a counter petition is filed and the counter petition is responded to, then we move forward into the discovery process, which is the second step, basically getting all the materials, the financial affidavits, the mandatory disclosure, the documents that are required in order for everyone to have a complete picture, and for the court to have a complete picture with regards to what’s going on in the divorce.
Once that is completed, you move forward to mediation where there’s a potential for a settlement. In Florida, we have mediations that are non-binding and they’re confidential so that means that the mediator’s there just to facilitate an agreement between the parties and non-binding means that they’re not like a judge, and confidential which is a way to make sure that any type of negotiations that take place people feel free to discuss what they would be willing to settle for not having that used against them later in court. Most of the time a lot of divorces settle at mediation but sometimes they don’t.
If they don’t, they move forward into the trial phase of a divorce and just because the mediation doesn’t work out doesn’t mean that the case can’t later settle however, the courts have a duty to make sure that they’re dockets are moving quickly so you will be pushed into a trial sometime shortly after mediation. At trial, the court makes the decision as to what happens during the divorce through a final judgment. Either way, a final judgment is the ultimate decision making part of the court’s process either they adopt the marital settlement agreement that is the result of the mediation or a trial occurs where the judge makes a decision based upon that.