Divorce Couple


Getting divorced is rarely an easy or stress-free process; it can take time and energy to navigate such a complex process that leads to tremendous changes in your and your family’s lives. When considering a divorce, the first thing you must decide upon is which process to choose. Most people do not know or realize there are several types of processes that can be used during this difficult time. Those processes are:

  • Collaborative
  • Uncontested
  • Pre-Suit Mediation
  • Contested

Collaborative Divorce

In the Collaborative Process, each spouse will be represented by a lawyer who has been Collaboratively trained. Most Collaborative Divorces also involve the use of other Collaboratively trained professionals, such as a mental health professional and financial professional. The additional professionals are neutral. The purpose of these additional professionals varies. Typically, a mental health professional is there to assist in facilitation of discussions at full-team meetings and to assist the spouses in the process and in determining what is best for them or their family, especially when children are involved. The financial neutral is typically the individual responsible for gathering all the spouses’ financial information and statements and providing the information to the full-team in a streamlined and cohesive manner, along with helping the spouses and their lawyers option-build. For more information, please see the Collaborative Divorce Page.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses reach an agreement before any litigation is started. The many ways that uncontested divorces can be handled are:

One spouse can retain an attorney who is responsible for drafting the appropriate legal documents for each spouse to review and sign. Mrs. Darley believes that this is one of the most cost-efficient choices for spouses and firmly believes that when hired to do this type of case, it is her duty to produce documents which accurately and completely contain the spouses’ desires.

Both spouses can retain attorneys and the attorneys can exchange documents and drafts of pleadings until a final agreement is reached. Alternatively, settlement conference(s) can be held with the spouses and attorneys to discuss the terms that will be included in any agreements.

Pre-Suit Mediation

If the spouses feel that they are not able to negotiate between themselves, Pre-Suit Mediation can be used. Mediation is a legal process where the spouses meet with a neutral third-party who is tasked with helping the parties reach an agreement. Although a Family Law Certified Mediator is versed in family law, the mediator cannot give legal advice to the spouses. As such, if this process is chosen, it is still important to obtain representation to be properly advised of your rights, obligations, or possible outcomes should an agreement not be reached.

Contested Divorce

In the event the spouses cannot agree, they are able to ask the Court to decide the issues, which is referred to as litigation. If litigation is chosen, one spouse must file an action with the appropriate court and serve the other spouse. Upon service being effectuated, there are numerous deadlines and procedures that begin running. Additionally, there are numerous rules, statutes, and case law that apply to divorces which are not commonly known to non-represented spouses. as important rights are at risk and substantial obligations can be imposed, having an attorney who is knowledgeable in the rules, statutes, procedures, and case law is key.

Litigation should be the last route taken when spouses are divorcing, regardless of the issues in the case. The litigation process is more stressful, timely, and expensive in the long run. When litigation is chosen, the spouses give up their decision-making abilities and must rely upon a judge to decide what happens with their assets and liabilities, support obligations, and child(ren). If the spouses wish to ensure that they control their and their child(ren)’s future, one of the other non-litigation types of divorce should be attempted before litigating.

Mrs. Darley understands Florida’s rules, procedures, statutes, and case law surrounding divorces. As your divorce attorney, Mrs. Darley will assist you with your case and educate you on the circumstances and requirements of the law and courts.

Contact Jennifer L. Darley, P.A. to discuss the best route to take and how these different processes can be used in your matter.