Florida law requires all divorce cases to mediate disputes before any matters can be heard by a judge. Mediation is not just a requirement to get past before moving on to court. Mediation is an incredibly positive means to resolve any issues in your divorce. In mediation, you can negotiate terms that meet your needs, rather than having a judge arbitrarily make decisions that may not be satisfactory to either of you. At West Family Law Group, we have extensive experience helping couples agree through mediation, saving them time and money and preserving relationships within the family so that everyone can move forward without emotional and financial trauma.
How Mediation Works
In mediation, a couple meets with a mediator (either with or without attorneys) to develop agreements on issues that need to be resolved. These issues could include dividing marital property, developing a parenting plan, alimony, and child support.
The mediator is neutral person trained helping people say yes to each other. However, unlike a judge, the mediator does not have the power to make decisions for you. Instead, the mediator helps the parties reach their own agreements, if possible. The mediator may explain the laws and the rights of the parties, but that mediator will not issue a ruling based on that law. Instead, the mediator helps the partners find common ground and reach decisions they can both live with. When parties are willing to compromise, mediation can truly produce a win-win outcome. If the matter were instead decided in court, neither party might be satisfied with the results, and the contentious divorce process could leave everyone involved feeling emotionally traumatized.
While most mediators are licensed as attorneys, when they act in the mediator role, they are not advocating for either party as they would in a traditional legal case. It is generally a good idea for each party to consult their own attorney outside of mediation to get counsel from a legal advisor who is focused solely on their own needs.
Benefits of Resolving Disputes Through Mediation
Mediation is often the best way to save money and time in resolving your divorce. When you resolve conflicts out of court, you avoid considerable litigation expenses and legal fees. You can finalize your dispute quicker, cheaper, and more privately.
Maybe the biggest benefit to mediation often comes in emotional terms. The traditional litigated divorce process pits couples against each other in a fight to “win.” Many divorce attorneys derive great satisfaction from the battle as they strive to “win” for their clients. They highlight every negative characteristic of the other spouse, and make sure the court hears about everything the other spouse has ever done wrong throughout the course of the marriage. In the end, both of you often lose because you spend so much on legal fees and endure so much emotional pain. If children are involved, they often never get over the trauma of watching their parents demonstrate so much hostility. The animosity of a litigated divorce usually spills outside the courtroom and into everyone’s daily lives.
In mediation using an approach of cooperation and finding common ground instead of competition, the emotional engagement is entirely different. Both during and after the end of the marriage, family relationships stay much stronger. It is easier for everyone to move forward.
What Happens if Mediation Does Not Work?
If you do not reach an agreement on every issue during the first mediation session, you can schedule additional sessions. This gives each of you time to gather additional information which could help reach a resolution.
If you are not able to negotiate to an agreement through the mediation process, then you can go to court to have the judge decide. Sometimes you might reach agreement on some but not all issues. The court would not need to address those matters agreed upon, which would save on your litigation expenses.
Let West Family Law Group Help You Resolve Conflict Productively Through Mediation
We cannot promise that your divorce will be pain-free, the end of a relationship will always involve bittersweet emotions and disappointed expectations Resolving disputes through mediation is the best way to minimize the harmful effects of dissolving a marriage.
When you work with the experienced team at West Family Law Group, PLLC, we will do everything in our power to help you reach amicable solutions with efficiency. Talk to us today to learn more about how the mediation process could work in your case.