First, before the dreaded D word ever comes into the discussion, I hope you two are talking. You would be wise to seek out a competent counselor and make an earnest effort to communicate your concerns and fears as well as your love for each other.
Of course, no one should stay in an abusive relationship, but in many cases you want to honestly ask yourself: “Have I done everything I can possibly do to save this marriage?”
Once you are certain the answer is yes and the emotional decision is made to divorce the focus turns to the finances and the children. The next thing you need to ask yourself is “How can we best serve each other, in unraveling this life we’ve woven together.”
The following are some important areas that may need to be addressed:
ASSETS AND LIABILITIES—They will need to be tallied and divided. The Florida statutes determine who gets what, unless you agree otherwise in mediation. Florida is an equitable distribution state.
CHILD SUPPORT—Florida has a formula for this based on income, health insurance costs, childcare expenses and the time-sharing overnight schedule you have with your children.
PARENTING PLAN—This required plan outlines specifics about how you will handle the back and forth of your children, along with their care, expenses for school, extra-curricular activities, unreimbursed medical; how you will manage holidays, spring break and vacation times, travel, etc.
ALIMONY—There is not a formula per Florida statutes, but there are guidelines based on several factors; the length of the marriage, the contribution to the marriage, the ability to earn an income, health, etc. Parenting Class—Both husband and wife need to attend a family stabilization class in person. I recommend they take it together to help with communication and interactions forward going.
INSURANCES—If you are currently covered by your spouse’s employer’s insurance, you may lose that coverage when the divorce is finalized.
Mediation is a requirement prior to asking a judge to decide about your case. Mediation can take place with or without attorneys. Cases that involve child abuse or spousal abuse require swift action by legal professionals. If there is a serious imbalance of power or if there are addictions or personality disorders it might be helpful to have an attorney be your advocate.
Amicable cases can be handled in mediation without attorney involvement, but the parties need to be active participants. You can be amicable about the method you use to resolve your differences without agreeing about what the solution is.
I don’t wish divorce on anyone. It can be very hurtful, time consuming and expensive. Do your homework. Find out who can best serve you and your family. If you would like to learn more about my method, please feel welcome to call me for a complimentary consultation.
Freya Robbins, CDFA™ Supreme Court Certified Mediator, 941-366-0202 , ZollingerMediation.com