Florida is a no-fault state, where marital assets and debts are subject to Equitable (fair and reasonable) Distribution, and a Parenting Plan is determined based on the child(ren)'s best interest. There is no “legal separation” in Florida. The recurring theme in Florida family law is “fairness”. Neither party “wins” in a divorce case. Usually, the parties are in the best position to determine what is “fair”. I will ensure that my client understands the law and his/her rights. I will give the client the opportunity to collect all necessary information to make an informed decision and will make every effort to achieve an amicable settlement. In the event an amicable settlement is impossible, I have the experience and ability to litigate the case through trial. I will be honest and will assist the client in seeing the big picture so that the client is not given unreasonable expectations.
Every divorce is unique with its own set of circumstances. It is rare that two cases will be the exact same, and therefore can be difficult to compare results. When determining how to evaluate a divorce, many factors should be considered including the personalities of the parties, the attorneys and Judge on the case, the ages and needs of the children, the type of assets and/or debts, whether there is a business, financial position of the parties, the length of the marriage, whether a party requires support (alimony), whether there are non-marital assets or debts, domestic violence, addictions, etc.
Any one of these factors could lead to a very different result than another case. But, no matter how difficult the case appears, it can usually be resolved by settlement, when both parties are willing to have an open mind and be fair in the negotiation process. Cases often go to trial, when one or both parties are unable to see past their anger and refuse to look at their case reasonably. It may seem cold, but the divorce should be looked at as a business decision, such as the dissolution of a business partnership. When the emotion can be set aside to allow for rational thought, cases can be settled amicably.
Parties should not consider a desire to settle as weakness, or feel that because their attorney is encouraging settlement they are not aggressive enough. An effective family law attorney will make sure that their client understands the law and their rights and obligations, collects the information necessary for the client to make an informed decision, creatively provides options for settlement, explains the risks of going to trial vs. accepting settlement proposals, advises when a settlement offer is unfair, but encourages a client to accept an offer when it is in their best interest.
A trial in a family law case will rarely give a party the feeling of vindication. It is very time-consuming and expensive for an attorney to prepare for trial. It is rare that the attorney will be able to present to the Court everything a client wants the Judge to hear due to time and evidentiary constraints. The Court does not give parties the opportunity to voice all their grievances against the other side, and It is unlikely that a party will get punished for the wrongdoing which led to the divorce, The Court will only want to hear the facts necessary to make their rulings. The most important question a party to a divorce should ask themselves is whether they want a stranger, in a limited period of time, to make decisions that will substantially affect their lives. Most people agree that they want to be in control of the outcome of their divorce and the only way to get there is by settlement.