Many people avoid or postpone the divorce process because of fears that the process will be bitter and acrimonious. There are certainly Florida divorces that involve a fair amount of spite and conflict, but the divorce process does not need to proceed in this manner. When you have the advantage of sound legal advice and effective legal representation, it is often possible to negotiate a global settlement of all issues in your divorce. These negotiated terms are included in the Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) that becomes the substance of your divorce judgment with regard to equitable distribution of assets and debts and alimony as well as other issues. While issues related to your children, including time-share schedules (formerly called “custody” and “visitation”), child support and parental responsibilities are usually embodied within the Parenting Plan, this document will be an exhibit attached to the Marital Settlement Agreement. At times, however, a parenting plan may also be included in the body of the MSA.
The divorce process in Florida permits the parties to a divorce to negotiate throughout the process to construct a Marital Settlement Agreement and forgo future litigation issues. While certain issues may make it difficult to negotiate the terms of an agreement, an experienced West Palm Beach divorce attorney can often assist you in navigating through emotional roadblocks that can obscure the path to a mutually agreeable Marital Settlement Agreement. At the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A., we understand that conflict, while sometimes unavoidable during a Florida marital dissolution, can cause long-term problems that create emotional and financial hardships.
Many times a resolution of issues in a divorce can be negotiated during mediation. Mediation is a negotiation process where the parties to a Florida marital dissolution meet along with their attorneys to discuss the equitable distribution of assets and debts, alimony, parenting arrangements, and child support. These agreements are then memorialized in the Marital Settlement Agreement and/or Parenting Plan. Once all of the terms and conditions of your divorce have been negotiated and the MSA is negotiated, you only need the Final Judgment of Divorce, which will ratify and incorporate the MSA as the key component of the judgment. If matters cannot be resolved, then there will be further litigation where a judge will adjudicate these issues.
When the issues in a divorce can be resolved by a Marital Settlement Agreement, the terms are generally more acceptable to both sides than when a judge must rule on the issues during a litigated hearing. While settlements on the issues in your Florida divorce may represent compromises on issues that are not completely satisfactory dispositions, imperfect solutions that are negotiated are typically more palatable than those that are imposed by a Florida family law judge. When the settlement agreement is made part of the judgment, it becomes a court order so that it is enforceable via contempt proceedings on issues of support, parental responsibility, and time-sharing.
If you are contemplating a divorce in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida, West Palm Beach family law attorney James S. Cunha and is legal team can assist you. To schedule a consultation, please call the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. at 561-429-3924.