Florida Women's Law Group
Mediation In A Florida DivorceAuthor: Florida Women's Law Group
Date: Oct 04 2021
Mediation in a Florida Divorce
Mediation during divorce proceedings is a process that allows for both parties to resolve their disputes and come to an agreement about issues in their divorce settlement with the help of a neutral third-party. In Florida, mediation is required in all divorces before the case goes to trial.
The mediation process allows divorcing couples more control over the outcome of the case by allowing them to come up with resolutions that benefit both parties instead of having everything decided by a judge. It can provide a ‘win-win’ outcome for everyone involved. Mediation is legally binding and once it is agreed upon and filed with the courts, it cannot be modified.
The Role of the Mediator
The mediator serves as a neutral person to help foster communication and problem solve. They are not there to say who is right or wrong, but to work for the good of both parties. Mediators do not provide legal advice or counseling; they are there to be a guide to assist couples in effective communication and dispute resolution. They are skilled at helping each party see the issues from the other’s point of view, leading to an agreement that is beneficial to both spouses.
Benefits of Mediation
As part of divorce proceedings in Florida, courts require all couples to go through mediation. Research has shown that close to 90% of divorces can be settled in mediation. There are many benefits to mediation, the biggest being that it provides more control and flexibility over the issues in the case. Divorces that are settled in mediation have a higher compliance rate because both parties have a higher perception of fairness than those settled by a judge. Other benefits include:
- Mediation provides the opportunity to openly discuss issues with an impartial party.
- Mediation is confidential as opposed to hearings that are held in a public courtroom. This provides the benefit of being able to talk about all legal and non-legal matters without fear that anyone else, even the judge, will hear.
- Helps both sides communicate and reach solutions. In a divorce it is very likely that communication between the two spouses has broken down and conversations end in an argument. Mediators help each spouse listen to one another and understand why they feel a certain way. Recognizing why something is important to another person helps in resolving conflict. If negotiations stall, the mediator can help both parties refocus and get back on track.
- Provides the opportunity to reach flexible solutions. If the divorce goes to the court, judgements are cut and dry with no flexibility built in. If a couple can agree to issues during mediation, it provides more creative solutions. For instance, if one spouse agrees to buy out the other’s share in the marital home, they can agree on a payment plan in mediation, that takes place over a certain amount of time. In contrast, the same situation if decided by a judge, may declare that payment must be made in 60 days. As long as both spouses can agree, it allows for a situation where they both win as opposed to a win-lose scenario.
- Mediation saves time and money. Mediation is quicker than going through the court process. If everyone can agree, it saves money on attorneys and time spent waiting for court dates.
What Happens in Mediation
During the mediation process, both spouses and their attorneys work together to come up with mutually beneficial resolutions to the issues. If all parties agree to terms, the mediator drafts the agreement, both spouses sign, and it is filed with the courts.
In some cases, spouses may only be able to come to agreement on some issues while others still need resolution. In this instance, they can either take some time and continue mediation on another day or file what they agree on and let a judge decide on the remaining items.
If they are too far apart on the issues and can not come to an agreement on anything, the mediator reports this to the courts and the attorneys take the case to trial. The courts will not be given details about the mediation, as it is confidential, but will be told that a settlement could not be reached.
Mediation, in most cases, provides the most control over the outcome, allows for divorce to be settled sooner and saves in expenses. Mediation is about effective communication and compromise to reach an outcome that benefits everyone.
At Florida Women’s Law Group, we have the experience, resources, and skills to provide you with empathetic and compassionate legal services. We are here to provide legal advice and the assistance you need during mediation and divorce. We represent women just like you to help you get through this and onto a better and happier life.