Any family law matter can be mediated, potentially avoiding the stress and expense of going to court. In divorce, all cases must go through mediation prior to being set for any hearing before a judge.
Mediation is a non-contentious, cost-effective way to finalize a family law matter. As a neutral third party, our attorneys work with the parties involved to reach a settlement through a confidential process. Mediation allows you to maintain the ultimate control over the settlement; your mediator discusses the relative merits of each party’s position, or may even suggest various solutions, but lacks the power to force a solution or decision.
This approach is beneficial in developing a solution that is in the best interests of the entire family in a non-antagonistic way. Many cases do settle during mediation, with the parties being able to fashion an agreement which works best for their unique situation. Mediation is often the last opportunity you have to establish the final say in your matter’s outcome.
In Florida, the mediation process is required for divorcing couples as a way to resolve issues and create a Final Judgment without going to court. Divorcing couples who are headed for a trial date may be ordered by the court to go through mediation before that date is set; however, mediation can also be voluntary. If the couple is unable to resolve their issues through mediation, they are free to pursue any other remedies they choose.
Mediation is better for the children involved in a family law matter – children can be damaged by hearing their parents argue and say things that children should not hear. Many parents who end up litigating their divorce are not hesitant to say ugly things about the other parent in front of the children. Parents who make a conscious decision to mediate their divorce are also more likely to be aware of ensuring the children are not privy to hostile behavior between the parents.
How Mediation Works
- Mediator discusses the relative merits of each party's position or suggest various solutions
- Mediator cannot force a solution or decision
- The parties hold the power to create a solution in the best interest of the entire family
- A written agreement is signed by both parties, submitted to the court for approval and is enforceable
Mediation in Divorce
- All divorcing couples in Florida are required to go through mediation
- If mediation settles all matters, a Final Judgment is entered at a final hearing
- If the couple cannot resolve issues through mediation
- Settlement conferences between parties and attorneys occur
- If an agreement is reached, a Settlement Agreement is drafted, signed by the parties, filed with the court and a final hearing is scheduled
Benefits of Mediation
- You maintain the ultimate control over the settlement
- Many cases do settle during mediation
- The non-combative approach is better for children involved
- It is a cost-effective way to finalize a family law matter