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Many Florida couples opt for other than formally litigated divorces

Many divorcing Florida couples determine that a litigated divorce that fully employs the levers of a formal adversarial process as exercised through a judge and courtroom is necessary to dissolve their union and define their reciprocal legal obligations.

That is understandable and, indeed, turns out to be the case in a clear majority of divorce filings. Parties sometimes have differences and outstanding issues that they feel are best resolved through the intervention of a court and the formalized and final process it brings to disputed matters.

That is not always the case, though, with increasingly more couples opting in recent years to effect their divorces through what is termed alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The two most commonly employed routes in the ADR process are arbitration and mediation, respectively. Although those two dissolution vehicles share some common characteristics, they are also distinguished by clear differences.

An arbitrated divorce can logically be viewed as a process that is more formalized than mediation yet less formal than a divorce sought through the court system. An arbitrator can be seen as a judge essentially, with his or her decision typically being binding and non-appealable. Arbitration, though, is generally much less enamored of formal requirements and time-consuming motions, rulings and hearings than is the case with a formally litigated dissolution.

That is even truer of a mediated divorce, where the mediator -- sometimes a divorce attorney with special training and experience as a mediator -- acts as a go-between that facilitates discussion and decision making between a divorcing couple. That is a key distinction between mediation and arbitration: With the former, the mediator leaves the decision making to the couple, rather than -- as is the case with arbitration -- rendering a decision.

A Florida divorce law firm can answer questions regarding ADR and pathways to divorce that are less formal and adversarial than is recourse to a family law court.

Source: Huffington Post, "Your demeanor can affect your divorce mediation," Diane L. Danois, July 23, 2013

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