Family Law Mediation

*813-240-3237     *425 S. Orleans Ave. Tampa, FL 33606      *
South Tampa Therapy & Mediation

Constructive Confidential Sensible Cost-effective Forward-thinking Peaceful  Dignified =RESOLUTIONS

Information About Mediation:

As your mediator, we will be:

Neutral Unbiased Impartial =Simply help guide you through exploring and identifying ways to resolve your current issues.

Non-judgmental. It is not our jobs to determine who is right or who is wrong and we don’t take sides.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process that attempts to help the parties reach an agreement regarding all differences of opinion between them about legal issues by utilizing the services of a neutral mediator.

Basically, how the mediation process works is:

You will have control over how you would like to handle the process. We are very flexible and

will work to accommodate all involved in order to meet your needs in the most comfortable way


We will help you identify issues, interests, and needs & brainstorm ideas and possible solutions. We

tend to think outside the box when situations are difficult.

We will then evaluate proposals and hopefully reach a solution that all involved can live with. The end

result will be reduced to writing and bring some closure to the situation.

Mediation is one of the first courses of action in any family law case and, if successful, can yield the most satisfactory results. Because many people are less familiar with the process of mediation than they are with a divorce, we have reviewed below some of the basics related to mediation.

The Advantage To Having CO-MEDIATORS…

Elizabeth, has a network of professionals who have been colleagues for long enough to know what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are. Because of this, during mediation, absolutely nothing will be overlooked and a Final Mediation Settlement Agreement will be drafted as the actual mediation is taking place. Additionally, as a mental health counselor you can trust that even though Elizabeth is not your therapist she will handle your concerns with a great deal of compassion and understanding. Lastly, litigation is expensive and mediation can help ease the financial burden, which is why South Tampa Therapy & Mediation feels strongly about providing co-mediation services as if only one person was mediating your case in terms of hourly rate. You will get a team of mediators for the price of one!

What are the advantages of mediation?

The Legal Proceeding Is Less Costly: Settling a case in mediation is usually less costly since disputes resolved in court usually involve the investment of more money in attorneys fees and overall costs.

More Satisfying Result: Clients usually find it far more satisfying to decide for themselves which parent will have custody, the visitation schedule of the non-custodial parent, the amount of child and spousal support, and the division of their property and debts rather than to permit a Judge to make these decisions for them.

What happens if the parties agree to settle at mediation?

The mediator prepares a written Agreement that is signed by both parties. That agreement can then be presented to the Judge assigned the case so that a Final Judgment in strict accordance with the Agreement can then be entered.

Can a mediator force a party to agree to anything?


Is mediation required in divorce and modification cases?

Yes! The Florida Rules of Family Law Procedure require the parties to go to mediation both before temporary relief can be granted and before a final hearing (trial) can be held in the case. The Judge has the power to waive the mediation requirements but is generally reluctant to do so unless there are special or unusual circumstances.

Helpful Resources:

Legal Self-Help & Research

The premier self-help law site is run by Nolo Press, a company dedicated for the past 28 years to helping individuals navigate the sometimes murky waters of the law. Find do-it-yourself kits for things such as divorce and estate planning, and a comprehensive site on many topics. Nolo press is known for its accuracy, and its products are typically very trustworthy.

A huge database of legal topics to help with your research can be found at Cornell Law School’s great legal research site. They also have direct links to the law of each of the 50 states.

A comprehensive site with links to attorney and legal-research-oriented topics is All,

Check out your lawyer at, a site sponsored by Martindale Hubbell, the nation’s leading directory of lawyers. Attorneys are listed by specialty and geographic area, among other choices. Because Martindale is a paid subscription service, however, many smaller firms aren’t listed.

Computerized Databases

You can use computerized databases such as Lexis and Westlaw (available online, for a fee). Some libraries may offer this service as well as CD Roms such as LawDesk to search the names of lawyers, judges, and witnesses. Simply type the person’s name into the search field, and see if their name appears in any cases. You can then read that judge’s decisions, or cases in which the attorney was involved.

Visit Law Guru for consumer friendly articles about all areas of the law, including divorce.

Useful Divorce Websites

The website for Diana’s book includes 10-tips about 10 different divorce subjects, a quick practical guide to making the best decisions for your divorce.

DivorceNet® is the Internet’s largest divorce resource, offering state-specific articles, an online community and a nationwide directory of divorce lawyers, mediators and financial professionals.

Divorce Headquarters is a source for divorce issues including alimony, child support, child custody, visitation, separation agreements, financial, divorce attorneys, divorce mediators, divorce services, free child support calculator, and more.

Divorce Central offers help, support, and information, and the opportunity to communicate with others who are in various stages of decision-making, mourning, mediating, settling, litigating, and just plain “dealing” with divorce.

Divorce Care provides you with resources to help you deal with the pain and emotions of a divorce. It offers information about local support groups and advice on looking forward and rebuilding your life.

Divorce Info is a very comprehensive site with a lot of information on divorce in very simple language. This site covers the legal and emotional aspects of divorce. Because the website has a lot of information, I found that going to the site map.

Divorce Directory offers a broad range of national and local based services on the web. This site also includes informative statistics and articles on divorce.

Divorce Source gives resources, fee based divorce tools, and state based information.

Support Scan offers a calculation program on-line to calculate child and temporary spousal support. ($15.00 for the first three calculations and $5.00 each after that). It creates reports you can view or print to predict proper levels of support. It is certified by the California Judicial Council and is admissible in all California family law courts.

Domestic Violence

The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence has developed two brochures on developing a safety plan one for adults, and one for children.

Asset Searches

Many asset searches charge a fee for their services. Be sure to inquire about the fees prior to utilizing such services. Because online businesses are difficult to monitor, be very wary. Neither the authors nor the publisher of Your Divorce Advisor endorse or encourage the use of such services. If you decide to use a service and would like to provide feedback (positive or negative), we’d love to include it on our site. If you have other suggestions for sites you’ve used, we’d love to hear them. E-mail us at

That said, the most reputable and reasonably priced service around seems to be Choice Point, which has access to many public records databases. Contact them on the web or phone (888) 333-3365.

Public Records Databases

Public records database search charges pay-as-you-go. offers a background-oriented public records search (such as where someone’s lived, and whether they lived with someone else) for $20-$40

Criminal Records database search: costs $25-$45

You can also try public records database, asset, and people searches through a number of other sites

You can find the name and address of the person behind the phone number with online reverse telephone directories, including:

Financial Information

Credit Cards:

You will want to double check that all your joint credit card accounts are closed, and for $50 will give you a credit report from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies along with tips on how to improve your credit score.   

You’ll also want to check before you apply for a loan.

Credit Reports:

Credit Reports Experian, NCAC, PO Box 2106 Allen, TX 75013-2106 (800) 397-3742

Trans Union PO Box 403 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 (800) 916-8800 (800) 888-4213

Equifax PO Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374 (800) 685-1111

Helpful Financial Calculators: Both of the websites listed below have various online calculators to help you compute mortgages, auto loans, credit, retirement, and savings.

Financial Planners: Your divorce financial settlement needs to be more than 50/50 or fair according to the law.  It needs to be the best decision for you and your future family, taking into consideration investment priorities as well.  We at Peace Talks suggest that you see an accountant or financial planner as part of your divorce. We can refer you to a local accountant or financial planner by calling our office at (310) 301-2100 The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts also has referrals of certified analysts that you can look for by zip code, city, or state. Another source for finding a financial planner would be through the Association of Divorce Financial Planners website.  Their members practice in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Retirement Plans or 401(k): Pension Appraisers is a national pension appraisal and Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) drafting firm. For a reasonable cost, they can do a pension appraisal or draft your QDRO paperwork. Diana has been using them since 1988, and they have always been reliable. Asset Searches: Many asset searches charge a fee for their services. Be sure to inquire about the fees prior to utilizing such services. Because online businesses are difficult to monitor, be very wary. Neither the authors nor the publisher of Your Divorce Advisor endorse or encourage the use of such services. If you decide to use a service and would like to provide feedback (positive or negative), we’d love to include it on our site. If you have other suggestions for sites you’ve used, we’d love to hear them. E-mail us at That said, the most reputable and reasonably priced service around seems to be Choice Point, which has access to many public records databases. Contact them on the web or phone (888) 333-3365 Government Information: Social Security Administration: IRS Internet Address: Estate Planning: South Tampa Therapy & Mediation can handle your estate planning needs. Get a referral to a qualified estate planning lawyer at the official web site of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Double check your pick at to see if she or he is listed with Martindale Hubbell, the leading publisher of legal directories. Lawyers are listed by geographical area and specialty.

Prepare for your appointment with this estate planner by using the forms and tips on

Don’t forget Nolo Press’s do-it-yourself estate planning kits and information.


Health Insurance: If you have health insurance through your spouse’s employer, you’ll be eligible to stay on that coverage at your own expense (or your spouse’s expense) for up to 35 months through COBRA coverage. The problem is that COBRA coverage is typically very expensive You may want to shop around for health insurance before finalizing your divorce. Our office can recommend you to an insurance broker if you’ll give us a call. You can also check, a web site that helps people shop for health insurance

Life Insurance: We usually suggest that both parents have life insurance If you don’t have children, you will want to have life insurance insuring your spouse’s life as long as you have intertwined finances, like a joint home mortgage or you’re paying or owe spousal support or alimony. We often recommend that clients consider 20 year level term coverage Term coverage is less expensive than Whole Life policies, and it doesn’t accrue a cash value, but it still provides a death benefit in the event of your untimely demise. “Level premium” insurance offers a fixed rate for a set period of time (e.g., 20 years). This insures that the cost of the policy won’t rise, even if you become sick or uninsurable later on.

You can get a quote online at and on numerous other web sites as well as through insurance brokers. Amica Life Insurance has also recently dropped their rates for level term insurance. You can contact them at or (800) 234-5433

Divorce & Parenting Support

Parenting Plan Mediation:

• Keeps focus on the children’s best interests

• Helps you make lasting, sound decisions about parenting, physical custody, and legal custody

• Tailors your custody agreement to your and your children’s needs

• Improves co-parenting and co-parent communication

• Keeps you out of court, saving money, time and emotional toll

At South Tampa Therapy & Mediation Services, our custody mediation and parenting plan mediation services assist divorced, divorcing and never-married parents in working together to develop a child-centered custody plan and improve your ability to co-parent.

Note: All of the information on concerning parenting also pertains to never married parents, separated parents, or divorced parents. Child support and parenting rights and responsibilities are the same for everyone.

Parenting Plan: Written court orders which outline how often and when the children will be with each parent and how child-focused decisions will be made. Parenting plans typically include decision making protocols, a day-to-day schedule, vacations, holidays and travel, as well as other parenting issues like move-aways.


Therapists Here at South Tampa Therapy & Mediation, we can offer both mediation and counseling.

Divorce Support Groups Divorce support groups have been growing in popularity.  We offer several different types of therapeutic support groups depending on our clients unique needs. They are also often offered at your local church or community center. 

Parenting Classes/Groups South Tampa Therapy & Mediation offers parenting classes, sessions, and groups with the goal of promoting parenting skills and increasing the joys of parenting.

You may want to go to, which provides various resources for parents and children in specific areas. – The Breakthrough Parenting program equips parents with the tools to effectively communicate and create healthy relationships with their children. – This organization has created an online interactive game for parents to take a timeout from their conflict to consider 100 Commitments they could make to their children in periods of conflict and stress.  Children have critical needs during times of high stress, such as a divorce.  Parents can effectively meet those needs when they arm themselves with the knowledge and tools necessary to protect their children.   On this site, the “life jackets” section has great articles for parents with children.

Domestic Violence The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence has developed two brochures on developing a safety plan, one for adults, and one for children.

After your divorce, separation, or paternity case is finalized, South Tampa Therapy & Mediation can resolve issues that come up later like modifying support, custody or adding details to your Judgment.

Even if you didn’t mediate your divorce or separation, you can mediate any modifications to your separation agreement or divorce judgment.

Post-Divorce Mediation is:

• 90% less expensive than litigation

• Confidential and private

• On your time schedule, not the court’s

• Tailored to your family’s needs

Consider mediation for modification of:

• Your custody arrangements and parenting plan

• Child support and spousal support

• Property settlement, especially when things didn’t work out as planned

South Tampa Therapy & Mediation offers discounted fees to former clients who return to mediation for modifications of child support, parenting plans, or any other orders.

Child Custody Mediation and Parenting Plan Modifications Mediation: Children change as time goes on, and as a result their needs change. Your needs as parents may change, too. Child support and parenting plans can be modified when circumstances change. Using mediation, you can modify your parenting plan, custody arrangement, or child support so that your new plan works for both the children and the parents.

Child Support Modification Mediation: Child support is modifiable in the event that circumstances change. The change may be to your income, the other parent’s income, your child’s needs, or a combination of all three. Mediation can help you communicate about co-parenting issues and child support. Mediation can help you find a solution that takes all of your needs, and your child’s needs, into account.

Spousal Support Modification Mediation: Because most divorces that include spousal support keep the amount modifiable, if circumstances change you may need help to reach a new spousal support order or spousal support agreement after your divorce is finished. A change in your or your former spouse’s income, health, or ability to work can mean that it’s time to update your spousal support.

Post-Divorce Property Settlement Mediation: Although property settlements are final as part of your final divorce paperwork, sometimes issues come up. Perhaps you still jointly own a home and it’s time to sell, but you cannot agree on a purchase price with your former spouse. Maybe your Judgment wasn’t as clear as you’d hoped on your property rights. We can help you resolve these issues.

Websites/ Resources

Divorce ABC

Author: Children of Separation and Divorce Center, Inc

This site is designed mostly for parents. There is a children’s newsletter and an archive of past newsletters. Also, excerpts from kids’ books on divorce are available on the site, as well as a downloadable handbook entitled “Talking to Children about Separation and Divorce.”

Divorce and Children

Author: Christina McGhee, MSW

This site contains extensive information on divorce and how it affects children. There is a section called “Parenting Guidelines.” a resource listing and many links to other related sites.

Divorce Central (Resources on Children and Divorce)

Author: Divorce Central

This website offers listings of organizations specializing in child rights, child custody, child support, missing children and abuse. Contact information and brief descriptions are included.

Divorce Info

Author: Lee Borden, Alabama Law Center

A comprehensive site that focuses on providing people going through divorce with knowledge and tools to help navigate the process. There is an extensive amount of downloadable information, as well as a section on helping children through the divorce. Alimony, property, and divorce worksheets are also included.

Divorce Source, The

Author: Divorce Source, Inc.

This is an extensive site with information on divorce laws according to state, children and divorce, a divorce record keeper, state-specific divorce forms and resources for books and articles on a variety of topices relating to divorce.

National Fatherhood Initiative

Author: National Fatherhood Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible fatherhood in America.

This website includes newletters, Training events and two-day workshop schedules, resources and books specific to fatherhood issues and a forum for discussion groups.

Sandcastles Program

Author: Gary Neuman, LMHC

A user friendly website that offers pratical information, including a forum for professionals, parents, and kids. Mr. Neuman is the author of the popular book “Helping Your Children Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way,” as well as the creator of the nationally renowned Sandcastles Divorce Therapy Program.


Children: The Experts on Divorce

By Elizabeth Hickey

Salt Lake City, UT: Family Connections Publishing Co., 1994.

Library of Congress Number: HQ814.C554

Category: Coping  

This comprehensive video for parents going through divorce covers many topics and offers ways for parent to ease the stress and trauma the divorce experience places on children. Hickey, the producer and director, interviews children, parents, teachers, judges and lawyers and even celebrities to provide a broad view over the issues. The video gives parents a glimpse of how children view divorce, communication techniques that help children talk about their feelings. And many issues including child support, custody, visitation, and cooperation.


A mediated prenuptial agreement or premarital agreement helps couples prepare and plan for a long-lasting, successful marriage.

South Tampa Therapy & Mediation’s team will facilitate and design a fair, respectful and loving premarital agreement so you can relax and enjoy every moment of your wedding.

Premarital Agreement Mediation:

• Puts you on the same page before you get married so you stay on the same page

• Takes both fiancées’ needs and wishes into account so the agreement is balanced and fair

• Improves communication on important issues like finances and planning a family

Talking about a premarital agreement is hard. Premarital mediation facilitates communication so that you can have a balanced, respectful discussion which ensures that your prenup is tailored to your mutual and individual needs.

At South Tampa Therapy & Mediation Services, our mediators also negotiate post-nuptial and post-marital agreements.

Premarital Agreement: A private contract that defines certain issues within a marriage that has not yet taken place. The document typically includes information regarding spousal support and property division in the event of divorce or death. Synonym: prenuptial agreement.

Premarital Checklist

There are many details to think about when you’re planning your wedding; however, a prenuptial agreement (also known as a premarital agreement) shouldn’t be left to the last minute. Here’s a list of issues to think about before you speak to your fiancé and your lawyer regarding a premarital agreement. If often helps to know your own feelings about these issues before decide to talk to your fiancé about them:

Premarital Assets and Debts: You’ll want to make an exhaustive list of your assets and debts that are currently in your name. It’s required for your prenuptial agreement, and it’s also good practice about being up front and straightforward about financial issues with your new marital partner. Below are some questions to think about when thinking about premarital assets and debts:

• Once you’ve made your list, how will you handle premarital assets and debts in the event of a divorce?

• Will the assets and debts remain separate property, meaning that they will go back to the person who accumulated them before the marriage?

• Or will your separate property be inter-mingled with your marital property?

• What if one person’s pre-marital property is used to pay off the other person’s pre-marital debts(i.e. school loans)?

• Will the paying party need to be reimbursed, or is it a gift?

• What if you use premarital property to buy a home you’ll own together?

• Will the paying party need to be reimbursed, or is it a gift?

Marital Property: Marital property describes the assets and debts that you will accumulate together once you are married. Below are some questions to think about regarding marital property:

• How will you handle the income and assets you accumulate together?

• Will they be joint, and 50/50?

• Will you use another arrangement?

Management of Assets and Income: People tend to be either spenders or savers. Given that opposites tend to attract each other, it’s typical for a couple to have very different money styles. That can work out just fine, provided that you each know about the other’s priorities and goals and provided you can work out a way for each person’s needs to be met. For example, one partner might be concerned about retirement savings and future security. The other partner may feel that money is to be enjoyed and spent for things like vacations and luxury vehicles as part of a well-lived life. Can these styles be reconciled? The answer is yes, of course, provided that you have a plan for what will be set aside for retirement and what’s available to use for enjoyment. Some questions to ask yourself regarding the management of assets and income are:

• Who will make the financial decisions and handle the checkbook?

• Will you do it together, or will one person be the primary financial manager?

• What about large expenditures?

• Does your spouse need to ask you before buying that plasma TV or designer hand bag?

• How will the household bills get paid, and whose responsibility is it to pay them?

• Will you have joint bank accounts, separate bank accounts, or both?

• Do you have similar money styles?

• With respect to debt?

• With respect to savings?

• Have you discussed your long-term financial goals, and how each of you will contribute?

• What about retirement savings?

• Will the decision-making authority be different for pre-marital property or debt that belonged to one of you before the marriage?

• If one of you owes spousal support or child support from a previous marriage, how will those payments be made?

• From joint property or income, or separate property?

• In the event of a separation or divorce, would the other spouse want or expect a reimbursement for these payments made during the marriage?

• What if the obligation is informal—like voluntarily paying for an adult child’s college?

Credit and Debt: Have you seen each other’s credit reports? Now might be a good time to have a serious talk about credit scores and priorities with respect to paying off old debt or accumulating new debt. Is it likely that either of you might over-borrow? Or refuse to borrow no matter how much sense it makes to the other person?

• Consider joint credit issues, as well as issues like pledging your home as collateral on business, or using a home equity line of credit to fund a business or tide it over in an economic downturn.

• Does either of you have bad credit? Will you and your spouse jointly sign on new credit obligations?

• Are back taxes owed? If so, how will they be paid? Jointly, individually, and from which checkbook?

Working: What are your views on non-monetary contributions, like raising children or managing the household? Most states recognize these types of contributions during a marriage, but it’s important that you share your attitude, and that you know your fiancé’s attitude about these types of roles in a marriage. Below you will find some questions to think about in regards work:

• What is your expectation about the kinds of jobs and income you will each have?

• Do either of you anticipate a career change at any point in time?

• Some jobs are riskier than others, like firefighters, military personnel, and stunt performers. Changing your job can impact the other spouse, especially if you become disabled thanks to an on-the-job injury.

• Other jobs pay less but are very personally rewarding. Teachers and nonprofit positions typically don’t pay very well. How would you feel if your spouse changed careers?

• When do you plan to retire? As early as possible, or do you plan to work as long as you’re able?

• Do you anticipate both of you continuing to work after having children? Or would one of you stay home? For how long?

• How will you handle move-away decisions?

• What if one of you was transferred for your work and had to move to another state?

• What if one of you wanted to move closer to extended family after having children?

Spousal Support and/or Alimony: How do you feel about spousal support? In most states, the rights to claim support go to both the husband and wife. You don’t have to address this in your agreement if you don’t want to, but it makes sense to talk about it. Some issues you may want to talk about are the following:

• Will there be any limitations on the amount, terms and duration of support?

• Do you want to make terms about spousal support or alimony that are different than what your state law allows?

• Do you both expect to work, and to contribute to the household?

• What are those expectations?

• Even if you think you’re in agreement, it’s worthwhile to make sure you’re both going into the marriage with the same expectations about earnings and work.

• Would there be a circumstance that would lead to one partner not working, such as a health problem or birth of a child? What about going back to school?

• Does that change your mind about how you feel about spousal support or alimony?

Gifts from Families: Sometimes one set of parents or relatives gives a couple a large monetary gift, loan or a home down-payment. It is important to make clear what kind of gift this is. Below are some questions to ask when faced with this situation:

• Would the gift from the family be marital or community property, or the property of the spouse whose family gave the money?

• If it’s a loan, who would be responsible for repaying it, and how and when? How formal will you be with the documentation if it is a loan?

Being clear between yourselves as well as with your own family will help you avoid conflict in the future.

Taxes: Once you are married, your finances will be intertwined for tax purposes unless you agree otherwise as part of your premarital agreement. It is important to be clear on what your attitudes and opinions are in regards to paying taxes. Some questions you may want to ask each other:

• Will you file separate taxes, or joint taxes?

• Does either partner have questionable tax deductions or a lighthearted attitude toward filing taxes at all? Does that worry the other partner? Is there old tax debt?

• Who will be responsible for that debt, knowing that a refund while you are married could be seized to pay an old, premarital debt?

Higher Education: Sometimes one spouse will want to or need to return to school. This situation may leave one spouse to support the other while he or she pursues a degree. In this situation, it is important to communicate clearly with each other the expectations of each party. Some helpful questions to ask:

• Will one of you be attending college, graduate school, or professional school during the marriage?

• Will one of you have to support the other while he or she is in school?

• How will you deal with this sacrifice made by one person if the marriage doesn’t work out?

• How will student loans be repaid?

• Would the expectations about income and earnings change if one person wants to go back to school after you’ve been married several years?

Duration of the Premarital Agreement: It is up to you and your spouse to decide how long a premarital agreement may remain in effect. Couples can ask themselves if the agreement will stand forever or if it will expire at some point:

• Does having children change your opinion on how your agreement should work?

• What about being married 10 years, 20, 30, or 50 years? Would the agreement ever expire or be renegotiated?

• If you separate, does it matter who chooses to end the marriage? Does it matter why?

• Would you want for the agreement to be renegotiated at a specific time, like 5 years after the marriage, or after the birth of the first child?

Business ownership: If you or your spouse own a business separately, there are special issues you should consider.

• Would your prenuptial agreement include an indemnification on the business debts and taxes—business, personal, back taxes, payroll taxes?

• Are there issues with the type of business entity, like a subchapter S corporation or d/b/a, and how the corporate spouse determines his or her own income?

• Many small corporations have a lot of discretion with how much of the corporation’s income is taken as salary or income for the corporation’s officers or employees.

• Do you want to make provisions for forensic accountant or auditing books in the event of a separation or divorce?

• Do you want an agreement on how much income will be contributed to the household and how much might be kept separate?

• What if a premarital business starts a new business or subsidiary after the marriage?

• What if one or the other of you works for the other person in a pre-marital business?

There can be many “out of job market” issues, so negotiating your terms of employment with your spouse before joining the business can be an important step.

Fault: Fault can be defined as who is to blame for the divorce. Fault can be evidenced by an affair, drug or alcohol abuse, among other things. However, most state laws either won’t consider fault, or barely consider fault, in dividing property or awarding spousal support in a divorce situation:

• How do you and your fiancé feel about fault?

• Would it make a difference to you in your property settlement or spousal support if you felt one person contributed more to the breakdown of the marriage than the other person?

Death or Disability: You will want to have a comprehensive estate plan in place soon after your wedding, particularly if you have children from previous relationships, so that your assets and debts are handled the way you intend if you were to pass away.

• Does it make a difference if you’re separated or living separately when one of you dies (even though you haven’t filed for a divorce) or if one of you dies while you’re happily married?

• Do either of you have children already, or people who’d inherit from you?

• Do you have life insurance? Often, life insurance can be used to protect either the spouse’s interests, or your children from a previous relationship’s interests.

• Who will you name as beneficiary on your retirement plans, IRA’s, and survivor annuity benefits on pension plans?

• Would your prenuptial agreement end on death?

• Will the surviving spouse be able to support the same lifestyle in the event of your death?

• Would either of you have immediate access to funds if one of you dies?

• Will he or she be able to maintain residence if you pass away?

• Are there certain family heirlooms or money which you’d like to make sure ends up with one person’s family?

• What would happen if one of you became incapacitated or disabled?

• Would that change how finances are handled?

• What if one of you had to use separate property to support the other person?

• Do you need disability insurance? Long term care insurance?

General: In order to begin drafting a premarital agreement, you’ll each need a complete list of your current assets, debts and income, as well as any health issues you might have.

You may also want to consider including a clause that says you’ll mediate any issues that come up that you can’t resolve on your own or that you will seek professional marriage counseling before considering divorce. Also, another helpful clause may state that the two of you will choose to mediate in the event of a divorce, or use a collaborative law or alternative dispute resolution process rather than litigation.  

South Tampa Therapy’s team will help you resolve your cohabitation, divorce or custody issues in a sane, sensible and fair way at a reasonable cost.

Same Sex Couples’ Mediation is:

• 90% less expensive than litigation

• Confidential and private

• On your time schedule, not the court’s

• Tailored to your family’s needs

• Sensitive to LGBT relationships

Our LGBT mediation staff is specifically trained in Same Sex Couples issues and is sensitive to the nuances in these relationships.

From adoption to ending a relationship, same-sex couples experience many of the same complex relationship issues as heterosexual Couples . But there are also problems that are distinctly unique to gay and Lesbian Couples . Some of these issues stem from societal stigmas, while others are borne out of unique obstacles created by the law.

At South Tampa Therapy & Mediation Services, our team of experienced mediators will guide you through the ever-changing legal framework of domestic partnership and marriage and help you dissolve your relationship, develop a custody agreement, or negotiate your co-habitation agreement in a sane, sensible and fair way at a reasonable cost.

Domestic Partnership: a legal relationship available to same-sex and cohabitating couples in California that affords the couple a wide range of rights and responsibilities similar to marriage.


South Tampa Therapy & Mediation team of Estate Planning Mediators and therapists will design your estate plan to achieve your goals, minimize costs and taxes, and create a legacy of family harmony.

Estate Planning Mediation:

• Minimizes taxes and fees

• Avoids probate and probate court

• Fosters family harmony by resolving conflict before it happens

• Keeps you in charge — not the IRS, the court or a hospital

• Insures your children’s well-being and security

Modern estate planning can be complicated. Blended families, step siblings, and multiple marriages can involve competing interests. Issues like incapacity, providing for minor children, navigating the ever-changing tax laws and healthcare directives can be daunting.

At South Tampa Therapy & Mediation, your family will work closely with our estate planning mediators to ensure a comfortable, cost-effective alternative to traditional estate planning and estate administration.

At the end of the estate planning mediation session you will be provided with the same legal documents as in a typical estate plan, but tailored to your family’s unique needs.

Estate Plan: An arrangement for the management and disposition of a person’s property during lifetime and at death. This can be accomplished by a will, trusts, gifts made during life, or a combination of these.