The conclusion of a divorce can come in many different forms. However, over 90% are settled outside of a courtroom, and in a negotiated or mediated agreement. An attempt at mediation is required by many courts prior to entering a trial scenario. Therefore, it is important to know what to expect in a mediation and how you can properly prepare in order to achieve the most effective results. Your Florida Divorce Attorney will be able to discuss with you the process of mediation, and the items you will need to have prepared prior to your set mediation date.
Mediation involves the active participation of each party, their attorneys, and a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator’s main purpose is to act as a go between, between the two opposing parties and facilitate a cooperative relationship to create an agreeable settlement; “but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.” 44.1011 The environment of mediation is informal, and occurs typically in the office of the mediator or one of the attorney’s offices; however, parties are separated in different rooms. The main draw of mediation, is that the parties are in full control of the issues and the settlement. They have full authority in all decision making during this time.
How you prepare for mediation is crucial and can ultimately affect the outcome of your settlement. One of the first things you can do to prepare for your mediation is to identify your BATNA. BATNA stands for Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement. With your BATNA, you are preparing yourself for the scenarios that may occur if negotiations fall through or do not follow the avenue you originally envisioned. It provides you with alternatives as well as your reservation price, or the lowest settlement you are willing to accept. In order to determine this, you must attempt to place value to each issue within your settlement. What does ownership of the marital home mean to you, how much does this holiday time spent with a child entail, or the value of alimony to you. Once you are able to place a numerical value to each item, it becomes easier to remove emotion and allows you to negotiate your settlement with a level head and have plans and alternatives to negotiations that do not work out perfectly.
Along with preparing your desired outcomes, it is important to prepare legal and factual basis for your requests. This is something that will need to be done with your Florida Divorce Attorney. For instance, if you are requesting alimony, it will be important to list the factors the court considers in an alimony award and present evidence for how you qualify under the statutory factors. Further, you may want to draw upon prior case law for guidance and present the similarities between your case, and the prior case law to present to the opposing parties. Being able to have evidence and support for each claim you desire in your settlement will create an environment focused on facts rather than emotional desires.
Finally, you will need to prepare yourself mentally for this endeavor. Although mediation is informal and you are in control of the process. The arguments that may arise can bring out negative emotions, clouding judgment and causing you to lose sight of the end goal. Therefore, it is important to remain patient. Do not second guess the amount of time a mediator spends in the room with your spouse vs the time spent with you. Further, be patient about your requests, items that you request at the beginning of the settlement that were non negotiable for your spouse may come back to the table later, after given time to think and consider. Further, it is important to keep your emotions in check. Focus on the facts and leave the emotional aspects outside. Although, a divorce is completely saturated with emotions, when dealing with a legal agreement it is important to remind yourself of your BATNA, and the value placed on each item. Your Florida Divorce Attorney will be able to ensure you remain on track during this process and are protected.
If you are considering a divorce, contact an experienced Florida Divorce Attorney today. We will be able to aid you in a trial or mediation arrangements for your case.
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