Florida Family Mediation Enables Couples to Control the Outcome of Their Divorce
The divorce cases in the tabloids go to trial, but that does not mean that yours will. Likewise, the simple, painless divorce in which you and your spouse simply file forms, sign a court-issued divorce decree, and find yourselves single again is not an option for everyone. What do you do if your divorce involves contentious issues, such as child custody or disputes over financial issues, like spousal support or which spouse keeps the family home, yet you want to avoid a stressful and costly trial? Mediation is a feasible solution for many cases in family court, including divorce cases and child custody disputes that arise after the divorce has been finalized. If you are considering divorce mediation in Florida, or if the judge in your divorce case has ordered you and your spouse to attend mediation, an Orlando divorce lawyer can help you navigate the process.
Florida Divorce Mediation: Dramatis Personae
These are the parties involved in divorce mediation.
- You and your spouse – You and your spouse are the decision makers in the mediation process. You decide on the terms of the mediation agreement.
- Your lawyer – You and your spouse are entitled to have a lawyer present at mediation sessions. The lawyer may speak on your behalf at any time during the mediation process. Even if your lawyer does not attend the mediation sessions with you, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer before beginning mediation.
- Mediator – A certified mediator meets with you and your spouse to help you agree on the terms of your mediation agreement. Most mediators come from professional backgrounds where they must serve as neutral parties to help resolve conflicts; many of them are business executives, lawyers, mental health counselors, or teachers by training. The mediator does not decide the outcome of the dispute; he or she also does not give legal advice. The mediator simply guides you and your spouse in negotiating and deciding on an agreement.
Advantages of Mediation
Mediation is almost entirely confidential. No one finds out what you and your spouse say during the mediation process except your lawyers and the mediator. Many couples find this less stressful than having every detail of their lives recorded in trial proceedings. During the mediation process, the mediator may choose to hold a caucus, which is a private meeting with you, the mediator, and your lawyer. Even your spouse does not find out what you say during the caucus. Additionally, mediation gives you more control over the terms of your divorce than a trial, where the judge makes the final decision. Mediation gives you a legally-binding agreement decided by you, not a judge. (A mediation agreement is considered a legally-enforceable contract.) Best of all, mediation is much less expensive than going to trial.
Contact Sean Smallwood, P.A. About Divorce Mediation Cases
Before you talk to a mediator or judge, the first person you should consult about the legal aspects of divorce is a family lawyer.