Divorce. The word itself can send a chill down one’s spine. It is one of the most difficult decisions anyone will ever have to make in life. Sometimes, it’s the only decision you can make. No matter how you come to the decision that a divorce is necessary, once you’ve made that decision the next, almost as important, decision is how to proceed.
There are several methods that can be used to obtain a divorce in Florida
Litigation is an adversarial process used to divorce a married couple. Those who know the litigation option, know that they are not in control of this process or outcome. In this process, the court determines how and when the case will move forward and what will happen. The court will make decisions on all matters which the parties are unable to agree.
Traditional litigated divorce is a time consuming process and can be very expensive. Parties in a litigation have the option of representing themselves or hiring legal representation through an attorney. If there are issues that need other experts, such as a CPAs or other financial professionals, child specialists, vocational experts or any other type of trial support expert; the cost for those professionals is covered by the clients as well. In litigation, both parties may need experts to represent their positions to the court. If that’s the case, you can see how the costs of a divorce can skyrocket depending on the needs of the parties.
With the potential for being very expensive, the litigation process also allows for very little privacy since divorce matters are part of the public record. A party can ask the court to keep somethings out of the record, but generally all information filed in a divorce is public record.
When the parties have hired attorneys, the attorneys must prepare the case as if it were going to trial, even when settlement seems likely. In most cases, settlement on the issues is reached before going to trial. However, the cost for preparing for trial can be incurred if settlement is not reached until the final days or minutes before trial. More and more people are seeking other options to complete their divorce than the traditional litigation process.
For more information about divorce in the Tampa Bay area, please contact an attorney at Bourlon & Lucas Law.
Mediation is a process where the parties work with a third-party, neutral, mediator to help them resolve their dispute. This is a non-adversarial option, where parties work together and compromise to reach an agreement regarding their divorce. The parties have more control on the outcome and have more responsibility to compromise in order to reach an agreement. When clients are motivated to resolve their divorce amicably, mediation can provide the process to help reach an agreement.
Mediation is a requirement for all traditional litigation divorces in Florida. Generally, once a new divorce case is filed, mediation is scheduled and occurs prior to the court allowing a case to go to trial. However, in some cases, people decide to start with mediation before filing anything in the courts. If parties need the assistance of attorneys or other experts, they are available to them in the mediation process. In fact, parties can agree to use the same experts, not including attorneys, in the mediation process to lower their expenses for divorce. For example, the parties could agree to hire a CPA and share the expense, instead of both parties needing to hire a CPA to represent their side in the litigation process.
Mediation can be a great alternative dispute resolution process for couples facing a divorce. Along with mediation, there are other alternative dispute resolution methods that can be employed by couples seeking to avoid litigation.
Please contact an attorney at Bourlon & Lucas Law for more details on mediation and other options to a litigated divorce.
Collaborative divorce is a team based, alternative dispute resolution method to handling divorce cases. With collaborative divorce, you and your spouse choose different professionals that may be needed to assist with resolving issues within the divorce. In the greater Tampa Bay area, teams are generally made up of collaboratively trained attorneys for each party, neutral financial professionals and neutral mental health professionals that work with the couple on an individual basis as well as in a group environment. A collaborative divorce team can be just two attorneys or two attorneys and as many neutral professionals as necessary to assist the family. The team is made up of professionals needed for the particular family’s needs.
In the collaborative divorce setting, the professionals needed are hired by the couple and work with both people. They are considered neutral which means they do not take a side in the collaborative process. Rather, they provide information to the team to help the parties understand the issues and be able to make agreements based upon the information provided. This allows the couple to share information openly with a professional that is working with both of them for the best interests of the couple’s family.
In contrast, within the traditional divorce setting, each client, with the help of their attorney, decides what professionals may be necessary to best represent their side of the case to the court. The professionals are hired to work with one party and provides support to help represent that party’s case. Likewise, professionals hired by the other party will work to represent that party’s version of the case. These professionals work for the party that hired them and not for the good of the divorcing couple. This difference increases costs as both parties are responsible for the experts they hire and do not share the cost or the information that the professional provides.
The type of financial professionals used can be CPAs, financial planners or other financial experts based upon the needs of the couple. As for the mental health professionals, there is a collaborative facilitator to run the meetings and keep the group focused on the issues. Other mental health professionals can also be brought in as needed to help address parenting issues, relocation issues, vocational issues and so on. The parties have the ability to bring onto the team any professional that may be needed to help reach an agreement.
When using a full collaborative team, some may think the process would be the most expensive option for divorce. In actuality, it is generally less expensive than traditional litigation and is generally less time consuming as well. With the collaborative approach, the couple and team decide the timeframe and create a schedule whereas with litigation, the couple is bound by the court’s timeframe. Finally, it is much easier to keep information confidential within the collaborative divorce process than it is with traditional litigation.
For these reasons, and many more that can be discussed during a consultation, the attorneys at Bourlon & Lucas Law, PLLC encourage our clients to divorce using the collaborative law process or mediation process. Please contact us to schedule your consultation.
Family Law Services:
What is estate planning? Why do I need a will? Do I need a trust?
These and many other questions are asked as people begin to think about estate planning. Estate planning is the arranging for the disposition and management of one’s estate at death using wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other devices. So, what is your estate? A person’s estate is composed of assets and liabilities belonging to them upon their death. If you have no will at the time of death, you are considered to have died intestate, meaning without a will. For those that are intestate, the state of Florida has a plan to distribute your estate. If you would rather have your estate distributed as you wish, then you must have a will or trust in place before dying.
At Bourlon & Lucas Law, PLLC., we work with clients to develop an estate plan that provides for their family’s needs. We work with clients to confirm their estate plan provides not only for their family, but any other person or organization they choose to benefit from their estate. We work with our client’s accountants and financial planners to coordinate coverage and safeguard preservation of their estate after death. Our attorneys understand the uniqueness and complexities of each individual client’s estate and put together a plan to protect and pass along their estate in compliance with their wishes.
We know this is not an easy task. We take great strides to make certain our clients understand and recognize each of the pieces within their estate plan to certify their wishes are being honored. Most of us don’t want to contemplate death but it is going to happen to us all. At Bourlon & Lucas Law, we help clients know that their family and things they care about will continue to thrive after they have passed. Please contact us with any questions about your estate planning needs today.
The Florida Bar explains probate as a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person (decedent), paying their debts and distributing their assets to their beneficiaries. Probate assets are those assets that were owned in the decedent’s sole name at death, or that were owned by the decedent and one or more co-owners and lacked a provision for automatic succession of ownership at death.
In order to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to their beneficiaries, a probate action is necessary. When the decedent leaves a valid will it must be admitted to probate in the court to pass ownership of probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries. When there is no will, probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to those persons who are to receive them under Florida law.
At Bourlon & Lucas Law, families who have lost loved ones are treated with compassion and respect for their loss. It is a difficult time and often made more so when faced with issues of probate that they have never had to handle. We take the burden from our clients and do all that is required to bring the estate to a close. Our goal is to make a bad situation a bit more bearable with the peace of mind that comes from knowing the job is being done right and in the best interests of our clients and their family. If you have questions regarding probate, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys for guidance through this process.
Are you looking to start a business in the Tampa Bay area? Do you own a business in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco or surrounding counties and need help with the legal requirements of your business? Do you have legal questions pertaining to your business and need answers? For these and other business related issues, the attorneys at Bourlon & Lucas Law, PLLC are here to help you.
From the moment you decide to start a business, many legal issues should be addressed. At Bourlon & Lucas, we work with new business owners to help them determine the structure their business needs and help them formulate and implement their business plan. We also work with established businesses to prepare legal documents, corporate minutes, and business planning to protect their interests while they continue to run and manage their business.
As business owners ourselves, we understand the concerns and priorities of fellow business owners. We strive to meet our business client’s needs by providing clear, concise legal advice and timely preparation of necessary legal documents to keep you focused on your business. Please call today to speak with an attorney and get the legal help you need.
Business Law Services: