No Attorney? No Problem!

Divorce can be full of ups and downs. It is likely one of the toughest, if not the toughest, time in a person’s life. It is no wonder that most people do not even know where to begin. Something that almost everyone automatically thinks is that they need to get an attorney. While hiring an attorney has an upside, it is not always the right decision. Every divorce is unique. What works for someone else may not be the best for your specific situation. If you have decided not to hire an attorney, do not worry. Many people make this same decision and never regret it. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation

Agree to Disagree

When a relationship comes to an end, it does not always end amicably. I have seen couples come to agreements quickly, but I have also seen people dwell in the past and take their emotions out on each other. Often, it is better to take the high road and agree to disagree so you can move on. Unfortunately, this tends to be easier said than done. Continue reading to learn how you can agree to disagree to have a better resolution in the long run. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation

Mediation Offers More Privacy, Lower Costs As Attorney Fees in Florida Continue to Increase

Hand writing Mediation concept with marker on transparent wipe board. Mediation - to resolve or settle differences by working with all the conflicting parties.Mediation continues to be an attractive alternative to litigation for divorce, custody, elder issues, and more. Frequently, mediation is less costly, more private and quicker than the typical court cases, says Lisa Dasher, Esquire, a family mediator in Northeast Florida and founder of Jacksonville Family Mediation. 

Dasher cites a recent survey by The Florida Bar that shows the median hourly rate for Florida attorneys at over $300 per hour, while mediators typically charge $100 to $350 per hour, according to She said the typical mediation can take as little as a few hours to a few days, depending upon the complexity of the issues.

“Many people going through a divorce or custody cases would prefer to avoid litigation,” Dasher said. “Mediation provides the opportunity to work out issues jointly, in private, with the help of a professional trained is conflict resolution. It is typically less expensive, less stressful, and requires less time overall.”

Once the mediation agreement is executed, Dasher says it is legally binding, pending approval by the Court. She said mediation works well for divorce, child custody cases, and issues related to older family members such as living arrangements and healthcare decisions.

“Most mediation clients appreciate having input in resolving the issues involved, rather than having a judge make the decision for them. Having a say in the outcome gives each party a stake in successfully carrying out the agreement.”

For more information, contact Jacksonville Family Mediation at 904.866.0268 or

Posted in Uncategorized

Custody Craze

Child custody is a difficult subject for many parents. Florida no longer uses the term “custody,” which has a negative connotation. Florida takes a two-prong approach to parenting. First is parental responsibility, which consist of decision making and sharing information. The second is time-sharing, the actual time the child will spend with each parent. The uncertainty of what the Court will award in a ”custody battle” is a scary thought, especially when the parents do not get along. It is important to be prepared when discussing how the child’s time will be divided. If you are not familiar with these types of situations, here’s some helpful information. Read more ›

Posted in Divorce Mediation

Estate Planning After Divorce

Review & Update Important Documents After Divorce


Today’s article is a Guest Post from Burns & Levinson LLP.


Divorce attorneys saw a wave of divorces last year due to the changes in the tax laws that took effect on January 1, 2019. If you were one of the masses whose divorce was finalized in 2018, now is the time to revise your estate plan. Here are the issues you should discuss with your lawyer:  

  1. Make sure your estate planning attorney has a copy of your Divorce Agreement. Your attorney will need to know what obligations you have to your ex-spouse in the event of your death.
  2. Update your Health Care Proxy. The health care proxy allows you to name someone to make health care decisions for you if, for instance, you were in a car accident or had a health emergency and were unable to communicate. You may want to name an adult child, a friend, or another relative.
  3. Update your Power of Attorney. If you had an old power of attorney naming your ex-spouse, that should be revoked. You should also execute a new power of attorney naming a friend, relative or trusted advisor to act as your agent regarding your finances and assets.
  4. Update your Will and Trust. Remove the provisions for your ex-spouse, and remove your ex-spouse as the executor and trustee. You want to make sure your “Ex” does not receive any assets if you die and has no control over your estate or trust.
  5. If you have minor children, you want to review who you have named as guardian in the Will. You may choose to name your ex-spouse as the guardian, or you may name someone else. Be aware that your ex-spouse will most likely serve as guardian of your minor children if you pass away unless he or she is determined by the court to be unfit.
  6. Make sure you have a trust for minor children. If you do not have a trust for minor children, and your ex-spouse is the children’s guardian, he or she will have control of the children’s finances until they turn 18. Most clients do not want their ex-spouse controlling their children’s monies.
  7. Pay particular attention to life insurance requirements.I have encountered numerous instances where folks just completely ignored their obligations to maintain life insurance under their divorce agreement, or named their new spouse as beneficiary of the policy instead. This could result in litigation. Review your obligation to maintain life insurance under the divorce agreement with your estate planning attorney, and with your divorce attorney, if necessary.
  8. Check your beneficiary designations. Another area that folks forget about or ignore are their retirement plan beneficiary designations.  Make sure your 401K and IRA beneficiary designations are consistent with the terms of your divorce agreement.  I have encountered a few situations where folks never updated their beneficiary designations after their divorce, and then died.  This can result in unforeseen consequences and litigation to correct who the beneficiary should have been.
  9. Time for a Prenuptial Agreement. I am always surprised how soon folks get remarried after their divorce is finalized. Needless to say, if you are thinking about getting remarried, make sure you have a prenuptial agreement in place beforehand.

Now is the time to tie up those loose ends from your divorce and get your estate plan in order. Remove your “ex” from those old estate planning documents, take charge and get on with your life!




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