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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37861
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I have applied for divorce in the state of florida 5 weeks

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I have applied for divorce in the state of florida 5 weeks ago and my spouse has been served and she answered the petition. only bank accounts in assets involved and no children involved and it is a 2 yr marriage. I will be filing a financial affidavit in next few days. My spouse has intention of delaying the divorce as long as possible. In FL especilly my county mediation is mandatory. How soon in the case can I request a mediation and trial date and can she request a postponement of the mediation and trial date and request a later date or find ways to postponing either or both? or can she just delay the case asking for discoveries even though I am willing to submit everything asap. I am employed, she is not yet.
Mediation is generally set by the court. You can ask the clerk to give you a mediation date, but the date will be entirely dependent on the existing calendar -- there is no way to expedite the process.

Once mediation is complete, if you have not entered into a settlement agreement with your spouse, then you can ask for case management hearing and a trial date as soon as possible. Once again, you cannot push the court's calendar. Most trial dates are at least six months after the first case management hearing. So, unless you can settle, you're probably looking at about 9 months at the earliest to get a court judgment.

Re postponements, courts rarely grant them to self represented parties. Courts grant postponements to attorneys in order to permit them to manage their case load effectively. So, this is not really something to worry about. If your spouse moves for any postponement, your response is that you're ready for trial, and there's no reason to postpone anything. The judge will almost certainly agree, and your trial date will remain where it was first set.

Hope this helps.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

we are both represented by attorneys and I was under the impression that we can ask for private mediator (which i am hoping can be set sooner) instead of mediator in the courthouse. Moreover can't I request a trail date and mediation date at the same time?

You could request a mediation and trial date at a case management conference, but if the mediation date gets postponed for some reason, then your trial date may also be postponed. In my view, it would be preferable to complete mediation, and then request a trial date. But, that's between you and your lawyer. If you're represented and so is the other party, then you can tell your attorney in writing that you do not want to protract this matter, and that you are instructing the attorney to obtain a trial date at the soonest possible date, regardless of whether or not discovery is completed.

The attorney will resist your instruction, because:

(1) Attorneys don't like to try family law cases -- it's expensive and time consuming, and the attorney has probably not mentioned to you how much more in advance fees you will have to pay, if the matter goes to trial. Moreover, believe it or not, unless a case settles, most family law attorneys are discharged by their clients before trial, because the client gets mad and blames the attorney for the delay and expenses. It's rare that a family law attorney who starts a case is the same attorney who completes the case; (2) It's malpractice to fail to adequately complete discovery, and it always takes at least 6 months to get it done. So, trying to push the case along, puts the attorney's license and practice in jeopardy -- which means that the attorney will either ignore your demands or offer to resign from the case if you persist in pushing the timeline.

I'm not saying that you can't have a trial at the soonest possible date. I'm merely saying that what you may believe that date should be, probably is too soon. So, I'm recommending that you write to your attorney, explain your concerns, and try to get some sort of rational timeline from the lawyer, so that you're not driving yourself nuts over the issue.

PS. In case you haven't noticed, I've done quite a bit of family law, and I can generally tell a client what he or she is thinking before the client tells me. I hope you take no offense.


so you have to make it clear that this is a requirement of the representation.
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