Sometimes when people learn about our work at A Friendly Divorce they chuckle and say “A Friendly Divorce – that’s an oxymoron.” Others wince and ask “where were you ten years ago, when I needed you?”
OUR PHILOSOPHY: The majority of our clients don’t start out friendly. But, for most couples, a friendly (or at least a friendlier) divorce is possible. As we see it, when a couple has children, divorce is a process of family restructuring: the marriage ends, but husband and wife remain Mom and Dad. It is their task to transition from living in one house to two and eventually become Grandma and Grandpa to the same babies. When a couple has no children they still need a forum for cooperative problem solving in order to divide their property and finances; make shifts in their physical, social, and psychological lives; prepare the necessary court paperwork; and move positively into the next phase of their lives.
Our problem-solving philosophy is in contrast to the tenets of adversarial divorce. We do know that a traditional/attorney-driven divorce is right for some families. This is the way to go if you or your spouse needs legal protection. For example, if you are unaware of what the marital assets are or how much your spouse earns, you may want a divorce attorney to investigate all of these details before agreeing to any financial arrangements. Additionally, if you or your spouse feel intimidated as the result of domestic violence or coercion, negotiating without a divorce lawyer is a bad idea. On the other hand, we also know that when people are emotionally vulnerable and feeling betrayed, rejected, and frightened, its easy to fall into the downward spiral of a traditional/attorney-driven divorce. And, so many couples are poorly served by a legal process that treats a major life transition as if it was just another law suit.
OUR PURPOSE: At A Friendly Divorce our purpose is to save our clients money and heartache. We help couples move in a more positive direction, side-step the negative nature of an attorney-driven divorce, problem-solve, reach agreement, secure uncontested divorces, and find friendlier futures.
Many of the couples who end up in a traditional/attorney-driven divorce wouldn’t be there if they knew that another option existed. Our mission is to let it be known that there is a better way:
Your family doesn’t need to spend its financial resources on two attorneys whose focus is arguing over dividing whatever is left,
Your kids don’t need to become entangled in a legal war zone, and
You and your spouse don’t need to get stuck in mushrooming conflict for years to come.
OUR PROCESS: Our unique divorce mediation process provides a forum for communication and problem solving. Typically, the process includes two or three face-to-face meetings, which may be combined with individual telephone or email consultation.
Mediation becomes a time for negotiation and opening up the channels of communication. Following your mediation session you will receive a draft of your customized Marital Settlement Agreement. This agreement will cover future parenting plans and how finances (and child support) will be handled during and after the divorce. Then you will come back to our office to read and sign the Marital Settlement Agreement. We will then fill-in the state approved forms necessary for filing an uncontested divorce.
If you need a QDRO (to divide a pension), a deed, or a revision to your estate plan we can refer you to other legal resources. Ultimately, the agreement and forms are filed with the Clerk of the Court and your case can be set for a final hearing as an uncontested dissolution of marriage.
We have offices in Boca Raton and Gainesville, Florida and serve couples throughout Florida. We can help you if you will be filing for divorce anywhere in Florida. (We regularly help people filing in Broward County, Palm Beach County, and Alachua County.)