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What to Expect in a Contested Dissolution of Marriage Case

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

Divorce isn't such a tragedy. A tragedy is staying in an unhappy marriage..." - Jennifer Weiner, Fly Away Home

After days, weeks, months, or even years of hoping things would change you now find yourself in the position of realizing that

your marriage is unable to survive. Whether it be from simply growing apart, from constant arguments and disagreements, or something more overt such as an affair by one spouse, the path forward is clear to you now. Dissolution of Marriage, more commonly referred to as Divorce, is not something to take lightly and is the last action to be had before a marriage comes to an end.

If contested, meaning the assets, liabilities, marital home, children issues (if there are minor children), etc., are in dispute between the parties, then you need to be prepared for what lies ahead.

Some contested Dissolution of Marriage cases can be relatively painless if both parties are able and willing to compromise with minimal litigation or Court involvement. However, if the parties are unable to reach these agreements, a contested Dissolution of Marriage case can last many months, and sometimes even years.

In Florida, each Dissolution of Marriage case must go through a process known as Mediation. At least one Mediation must be performed before the Court will allow the case to be taken to a trial to ultimately be decided on the facts and evidence presented by both parties. Both parties should be aware that on top of the financial obligations of paying your respective counsel (if retained), the parties will be responsible for paying the mediator for their time as well. Depending on the financial circumstances of the respective parties this amount can be relatively affordable to highly expensive.

If at mediation an agreement cannot be reached, the parties need to be prepared for the time-consuming process of preparing for trial. Outside of the mounting financial aspect of a legal case in this stage, the mental drain and emotional fatigue will begin to set in for most. This is why it is very important to have legal counsel whom you can trust and will be there for you during this difficult process. If you feel it is time for the pursuit of a Dissolution of Marriage then you should contact a family & marital law attorney for a consultation to review you potential case and options. While in the moment it can be daunting and a time of personal distress, it is also a chance to start anew and grow further as an individual.

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