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Can You Get A Pro Se Divorce When There Are Minor Children Involved?

Date Posted: September 30, 2021 1:08 am

Can You Get A Pro Se Divorce When There Are Minor Children Involved?

If you are considering getting a divorce in Florida, you might wonder how to proceed. You might have heard terms like pro se divorce or simplified divorce and asked what they mean. A Stuart, FL, pro se divorce mediator can help explain these terms and how they might be an option for you if you seek a divorce in Florida.

Pro Se Divorce vs. Simplified Divorce

Pro se simply means that you do not have a lawyer and represent your own legal interests in a legal proceeding. So, yes, you can get a pro se divorce even if there are minor children involved.

However, some people mistake the term “pro se” with “simplified” divorce. A simplified dissolution of marriage, or simplified divorce, is one in which you and your spouse agree to all the terms of your divorce. With a simplified divorce, you can expedite the process and get divorced faster, often within 30 days of the divorce filing. However, you must meet certain conditions to qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage, including:

  • Your divorce is not contested.
  • You and your spouse agree your marriage is irretrievably broken
  • You have a complete agreement on the terms of your divorce
  • You do not have any children under 18
  • You do not have any dependent children
  • The wife is not pregnant
  • No alimony is involved
  • You or your spouse must have lived in Florida for at least six months

Many people who pursue a simplified divorce are also pro se, meaning that they agree on the divorce and do not have their own lawyers. The courts respect the ability of spouses to reach an agreement on their own terms and to acknowledge it.

As you can see from the conditions above, you cannot get a simplified dissolution of marriage if you have minor children.

When these more complex issues are involved, the court requires greater oversight. Additionally, it uses other standards when making determinations, such as the child’s best interests. Florida courts also require parties to take a parenting class in all family law cases involving minor children.

Benefits of Pro Se Divorce

The primary benefit of a pro se divorce is saving money by not having to pay a lawyer. Legal fees for a basic divorce can easily cost thousands of dollars. They can be even more expensive if the case is contested or involves complex legal issues.

Sometimes, when couples involve lawyers, the case may become more contentious than it would have been without the involvement of a lawyer. Unfortunately, some lawyers may have reputations for fighting aggressively, even if that is not best for a particular client. Having a pro se divorce potentially allows you to get divorced on your own terms.

Drawbacks of a Pro Se Divorce

The major drawback of a pro se divorce is that you must deal with the complex legal system independently. There may be complicated procedures involved in the case. If you do not provide a response or make a legal argument at a certain time, you can unwittingly forfeit your opportunity to do so.

A divorce involving minor children can carry high stakes, with child custody and support issues at play. Therefore, you must understand the legal implications involved in your divorce.

How Mediation Can Help

A Stuart FL pro se divorce mediator can help bridge the gap by providing you with helpful legal information while also controlling costs. Additionally, a Florida pro se divorce mediator can help you and your spouse identifies the issues involved in your divorce and starts collaboratively tackling them. That way, even if your divorce is originally contested, you can proceed with an uncontested process after mediation.

An experienced Stuart, FL, pro se divorce mediator can help explain Florida divorce rules and outcomes that you may have if you proceed to litigation, such as not getting as much time with your children or losing the property you thought you would be able to keep. When you (and your spouse) realize everything is on the line, you may be more likely to fully engage in the mediation process.

Working with a Stuart FL pro se divorce mediator may help you obtain the following benefits:

  • Cost savings – You may be able to avoid hiring expensive divorce lawyers so you and your spouse can keep more of the assets you’ve worked hard to acquire.
  • More control – When you mediate a case, you keep more control over the outcome. You do not have to agree to the terms if you do not like them. You always retain the right to walk away from mediation without an agreement.
  • Faster processMediation can resolve a divorce case in a fraction of the time than litigation usually does.
  • Privacy – In family court, your marital issues may become public fodder. That’s not the case in mediation, where your participation is voluntary and confidential.
  • Greater satisfaction with the outcome – Many people who have turned to mediation say that they are more satisfied with mediation than litigation.
  • Greater compliance – Because you and your spouse play a fundamental role in developing the agreement, you are more likely to abide by its terms.
  • Greater finality – In litigation, the end isn’t always the end. One of you may decide to appeal, further stretching out proceedings and expenses involved with them. Most of the time, in mediation, you and your spouse have an agreement that you are both satisfied with, which represents an ending in your case.
  • Better relationship – Because you and your spouse do not have to go to court and lodge accusations at each other, you may have a better relationship. This will only make things easier for you to form a positive co-parenting relationship together.

Contact Ann Goade for a Stuart, FL, Pro Se Divorce Mediator

Contact Ann Goade today if you are considering divorce and want to work with an experienced Stuart, FL, pro se divorce mediator. Ann has served Florida families with quality mediation since 1993. She is dedicated to helping your family achieve an amicable, swifter, more affordable, and less contentious divorce. Call to find out more about the mediation process today.

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