Why Mediate

Mediation is an informal process in which the parties resolve their own disputes without a judge imposing a solution upon them. Unlike a trial or arbitration, mediation gives the parties the opportunity to speak to each other in an informal setting that is guided by a neutral and impartial third person called a mediator. The mediator’s role is to help the parties communicate their positions to each other in a constructive manner so they can craft their own solutions.

Mediation may be voluntary or court ordered. Most family courts, and some civil courts in Florida require mediation before the case is scheduled on the court’s calendar or goes to final judgment, even if you are represented by an attorney. If you are represented, your attorney will arrange for mediation in your case, and if you are not represented, you may arrange for mediation directly with me. Parties can voluntarily agree to go to mediation prior to filing their case or anytime during the court process.

When we think about divorce and other family issues, we focus on the classic issues of marital property, support, and parenting.

In mediation, we focus on empowering the couple to address and resolve the issues that are before the court. If the couple agrees with such resolution, I write the Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement that addresses the Parenting Plan if there are children, the distribution of property, alimony and child support (if applicable). These agreements become the blueprints for the future.

Divorce or Family mediation typically requires two (sometimes three) sessions. The complexity of the issues will ultimately determine the actual number of sessions. Each session is usually scheduled for three hours, with a two hour minimum, and mediation sessions are informal, relaxed, safe, and confidential.

Most importantly, mediation is a faster process than a traditional court case, saving time and money so household resources can remain with the families, as well as being less stressful on the parties and their children.

  • Mediation is confidential (remains out of the public eye)
  • Mediation is easier to schedule (not dependent on the court’s calendar)
  • Mediation produces a faster result
  • Mediation makes more productive use of family resources
  • Mediation can preserve ongoing relationships
  • Mediation allows the parties to vent and tell their stories
  • Mediation allows those in dispute to make their own decisions, rather than being left to the courts to decide

As your mediator:

  • I will never want a retainer
  • I will never encourage you to fight with your spouse
  • I will never increase conflict between you and your spouse
  • I will always protect the interests of your children
  • I will provide a forum where you and your spouse can figure a way to create a new life for yourselves in your new status as divorced parents

Highlights of the Advantages:

Saves Time: Litigation can often take many months or years depending upon the complexity of the case and the degree of conflict. Mediation can be completed in one or several sessions.
Saves Money: The average cost of a litigated divorce is about $25,000 with costs going much higher if the parties use the courts to engage in all out war.
Saves Relationships: The animosity that develops in litigation is particularly damaging in family law, where the parties may deal with each other for years after the trial is over. Rather than fostering hostility, mediation helps the parties develop the skills necessary to continue discussing, negotiating, and cooperating with each other for the long term.
Better Compliance: When couples have the opportunity to work out their own agreement, they are more likely to abide by the agreement and avoid additional litigation costs to enforce it later.
Privacy: Often litigation involves matters the parties may wish to keep private. All documents filed with the court are public records that can be viewed upon request. Mediation, with its protection of confidentiality, is well suited to protect the privacy interests of the parties.
Creativity: The couple can be creative in crafting solutions to their unique issues whereas a judge, who must get through a big caseload, usually applies cookie cutter solutions without considering the couples uniqueness.
Self determination: No one knows what is best for you better than you do, and in mediation, all decisions are yours. There is no judge or arbitrator to impose a decision upon you.

There is no right or wrong answer in divorce.