Mediation is a good alternative for you to consider if you do not have an agreement yet with the other parent or spouse and would like to avoid litigation. Even in a situation where you and the other person are far apart on the issues, mediation can be successful if both of you share or develop at least some interest in trying to avoid litigation.
One of the benefits of mediation is that the two of you can go together to sit with a mediator, to guide you through issues like calculating alimony and child support; developing a parenting plan; dividing marital assets and debts. Mediation is not appropriate if it is not safe to engage with the other person in that way, or if the other party will never disclose their finances or come to a reasonable settlement without being forced by the court.
If it is a divorce some things you can do to prepare for mediation are pulling together account statements for bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets; pay stubs or other documents showing each person's income; as well as statements for your and your spouse’s debts. You can obtain credit reports to see the debts in your and your spouse's names. You'll need information about income also if we are going to work, for example, on a child support modification.
As part of the process, we will prepare your Settlement Agreement, and Parenting Plan if there are minor children, and also can prepare the rest of the court papers you will need to file for divorce or for some other types of family law cases.You can look through the Family Law Financial Affidavit as one way of beginning to list all of the assets and debts that need to be divided. In a Florida divorce, with some limited exceptions, all of the assets and debts acquired or incurred during the marriage are “marital” assets and debts, without regard to who has title to the asset or whose name is on the debt. You can look through the form Parenting Plan as a way of going though many of the children’s issues that need to be addressed if there are minor children. There are child support calculators on the web if you want to try to come up with a rough idea of the amount of child support in your case, or you can use the web-based Child Support Guidelines Worksheet on the Florida Courts website. There are pages here on my website you can use to learn more about some of the major issues that arise in a divorce or other family law case.