Wilson Family Law Traditional Litigation Services
Serving all of Brevard County, Florida
In traditional litigation, Pleadings (documents) are filed with the Court to start the legal action. The parties exchange and obtain information in the Discovery process. Next the parties attend Mediation where they negotiate with the help of their attorneys and the neutral mediator. If mediation is successful, the parties both sign an agreement, which is approved by the Court, and the case closes. If mediation is unsuccessful, either party may appear in Court to request Temporary Relief while the legal action is proceeding to address any urgent issues. The parties continue to Negotiate to resolve matters. If an agreement cannot be reached, there will be a Trial in the courthouse in front of the Judge, who will decide any unresolved issues.
How long does Litigation take?
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it can take up to two years from the date you file a divorce until the Court hears your issues as a final Trial. The good news is that only about 5% of cases go to trial. Most litigated cases resolve between 6-18 months. It can take a long time to get the documentation you need if the information is complicated, or far in the past. Sometimes expert opinions are needed, and those evaluations and reports take time. And sometimes one party or the other isn’t very motivated to get things done quickly.
How do cases get resolved without trial?
While only 5% of Family law cases go to trial, that still leaves 95%. The largest portion, 70%, settle at mediation. The other 25% settle through direct client and attorney negotiations, which can be in-person, by phone, or through email and correspondence.
How much does Litigation cost?
That depends quite a bit on how complicated the legal issues are, how cooperative the parties are, and whether or not the case actually goes to trial. This is a great question to ask at an initial consultation.
If Mediation is faster and cheaper, then why Litigate?
I am a believer in mediation, and regularly serve as a mediator myself, but not all cases can or should be resolved at mediation. Sometimes the other party has a mental health or substance abuse issue that makes negotiating with them tricky and difficult. At other times the other party refuses to cooperate or ignores you and you need to be able to force matters to move forward. Sometimes there is a serious power imbalance, or you feel like an emotional wreck and you need someone to stand up for you, and make sure that you don’t do anything that you will later regret. In short, sometimes you need an advocate.