It is universally agreed that when possible, allowing parties to make their own decisions that impact their own family with the assistance of a family mediator is much better than having a judge tell everybody what to do.
Without question, the greatest benefit to the divorce mediation process is that it gives the parties involved a chance to resolve their case by themselves, without submitting their case to a third party judge whom they barely know.
The divorce mediation process, because it is a negotiation, gives the parties a chance to seek a win-win resolution or to come up with alternative resolutions that benefit everyone involved. Litigation, while necessary in certain cases, is indeed a win-lose proposition. In effect, there can only be one “winner” or “loser” in trial. Trial is an exercise of loss of control by the parties. A judge is making decisions for their family’s future. Settlements reached in mediation tend to have a higher compliance rate, and ultimately have a higher perceived fairness by the parties involved as compared to a trial.
There are additional benefits of divorce mediation which include:
- A feeling of self-control and freedom during the process.
- An opportunity to emotionally “vent” in a safe place.
- Openly discuss child time sharing
- A time and place to consider alternatives and successful win-win resolutions.
- An opportunity to reduce trauma for children and show them that you and your spouse were able to engage in constructive conflict resolution.
Mediation is not a perfect entity and does have some potential drawbacks. Some of the potential drawbacks include:
- Legal rights and responsibilities can be pushed aside or ignored.
- If there is a power imbalance between the parties and their respective attorneys, then an unfair agreement may be the result. This is especially true if one of the parties is proceeding pro se (without an attorney.)
- Mediation does require two to tango. So if either party chooses not to fully participate, then the end result will be a failed mediation.
- The opposing counsel may discover weaknesses in their case while at divorce mediation and have a chance to remedy the flaws before trial.
In Florida, if you are going through a divorce, whether you have an attorney representing you or not, chances are you’ll end up in mediation. In fact, like 95% of all Florida divorces, your case will most likely settle in mediation and never go to trial. Even if you file for divorce on your own, courts will almost always send you to mediation.
Unlike a judge, a mediator is NOT a decision maker. Instead the mediator provides impartial support and guidance to both spouses. The mediator helps identify issues, offers information, and facilitates discussion so that the parties themselves can decide their best course of action. Mediation provides a forum for negotiation, giving spouses a chance to seek win-win or alternative resolutions that benefit everyone involved. On the flip side, litigation, while sometimes necessary, is a win-lose proposition. There can only be one “winner” at trial and the loser might be you!
This is where Deborah Beylus comes in. She owns Boca Raton-based South Florida Mediation Services, providing divorce mediation and financial support to couples with and without attorneys. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, specializing in financial matters unique to divorce. Deborah has a unique background and over 30 years of financial industry experience. “If marriage is all about love, divorce is all about money. Divorce is the largest financial transaction a couple will make in a lifetime. Divorce can be financially complicated, finance is not usually taught in law school and so many lawyers welcome the financial guidance.” she says.
Born and raised in New York, Deborah has lived in South Florida for over 25 years. “I realized going through my own divorce that court is not the best place to settle.” she says. The greatest benefit to divorce mediation is that it allows the parties to resolve their case without involving a judge. Deborah is committed to helping couples avoid trial, knowing that anything that can be decided by a judge can be resolved through mediation. “And mediation is almost always a better option,” she says.