Is Mediation the Right Choice for My Florida Divorce?


Wondering if mediation could benefit your divorce negotiations? Contact an Orlando divorce attorney tor an explanation of the process.

When entering into any court case, many assume the resolution coming in the form of a formal trial before a neutral judge. However, when you are facing a divorce there are many other forms of resolutions available to you, the most common being mediation. Mediation is a valuable tool and offers many benefits to the parties and in most cases is ordered by the court prior to a trial being scheduled. Mediation gives the individuals the ability to reach settlements through discussions, and a give-and-take format as opposed to court ordered agreements. Utilizing the experience of an Orlando Divorce Attorney will help you fully understand the benefits that could come with the mediation process.

Fla. Stat. §44.1011(2) describes mediation as “a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.” Florida legislation formulated this process to be collaborative and place the parties in the highest decision-making position. Mediation involves every party; including both spouses, attorneys and finally the neutral mediator. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney can discuss in detail the role of each party. ¬†Typically, each party is separated into rooms, and the mediator will go between discussing with each party their desires and issues. The ultimate goal is to obtain an agreement that is acceptable to each party. Mediation tries to help couples work together to find solutions, rather than highlighting their opposing viewpoints. When children are a part of the picture, working together to find a more collaborative solution is the best resolution.

Mediation is known for its flexibility. You may end your mediation at any time and are in control of the issues at hand. However, it is critical to go into this process with an open mind. It is unrealistic to expect to receive every single desire when entering into a mediation. You must anticipate giving up some things in order to achieve others. It is very important to have an open dialogue with your Orlando Divorce Attorney and set your bottom line, the items that are negotiable and those that are not. Your Orlando Divorce Attorney will educate you on your options, as well as help you decide when it is time to walk away from the table.

The Florida courts prefer disputes be solved cooperatively whenever possible, especially in relation to a family unit. Many times, courts require individuals going through a divorce attempt one mediation setting before moving forward with other legal options. The court will look to the mediator to determine if the mediation reached an impasse and is suitable for a trial. However, there are times when a mediation can be waived. When there are extenuating circumstances, such as domestic violence, the courts can waive this requirement. If you believe mediation should be waived in your case, discuss this with your Orlando Divorce Attorney so that he can present this request and your reasons to the court. 

One major benefit to couples is the monetary value of mediation. Mediation costs can be much less than those of going through with an actual trial. Mediation can save you money on court costs and result in less billable hours by your Orlando Divorce Attorney. Mediation is found to be the more financially friendly option in my cases. Further, compensation of the mediator is regulated by Florida statute 44.108 and is based upon the parties’ financial status as seen on their financial affidavits.

Many couples prefer mediation because of the confidentiality of the process. When divorcing in open court, there is a record of all testimony and actions that take place. Mediation, on the other hand, is totally confidential. There is no record of what actually takes place during these meetings. No offers or admittance of fault during mediation proceedings can be offered into evidence at a later time. Discuss issues with your Orlando Divorce Attorney that you would prefer to keep confidential as you move forward with your divorce.

If you find yourself facing divorce, you have a myriad of legal options at your disposal. Before choosing the option that you think is right for you going forward, contact an experienced Orlando Divorce Attorney who can discuss these options and help you choose the one that best fits your situation.

Speaking to an attorney at our office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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