In the state of Florida, almost all jurisdictions require mediation before a court date can be set to finalize a matter involving the Family Court.Mediation is an attempt to resolve a dispute, with the help of a third party, termed a mediator. The mediator is not a judge and cannot force a resolution. He or she, however, is trained and certified by the state of Florida as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator to help each party listen to the needs of the other party as well as tactfully put forward the own needs. Compromise is the key word and, when done respectfully goes a long way to a successful mediation.While this process may seem an inconvenience for many people wanting to “get on with the case” there are a number of advantages in trying to work things out without having to go to court to do so.At mediation, parties are not required to resolve their differences,but in many instances, they will find it substantially beneficial to do so. The following reasons can make a successful mediation very worthwhile.
- Cost Not only is going to court expensive, the added time and money an attorney will need to prepare for court representation such as depositions, hiring special witnesses, preparing motions, sending out subpoenas, and the actual court appearance can bring increased costs. While there is a charge for mediation, it is far less than going to court,and each party pays half.
- Time In one day your case is basically finished (a judge still has to review, approve, and sign the mediation agreement) and the parties can begin to put their lives back together. In Florida cases in Family Court are backed up for months so “getting on with it” outside of mediation rarely happens.
- You are in charge When you go to court to present your case a judge will make the final determination and decide the final outcomes. For example, if there are some special marital assets you hope to keep a judge may determine your spouse can have them despite your pleadings. In a mediation, when both parties are willing to compromise you,and your spouse can use the bargaining technique to determine final outcomes. You can, in a sense, trade one asset for another of equal value or sentimental worth. When it comes to developing the parenting plan required for all parents of minor children you and your spouse can decide together what will be best for your children. In Florida “in the best interests of the child” is strongly adhered to so a judge may overlook your desires is it appears not to be best for the child. All in all, in a mediation you and your spouse are in charge of how you will solve your differences and move on.
- Mediation proceedings are not public while the proceedings of a mediation are recorded, they are not available to the public as the proceedings of a court hearing are.This can be important if there are certain personal discussions you don’t want others to learn about.
As in most Family Law matters is it best to retain the services of an attorney trained and experienced in handling a mediation. He or she should have some positive feedback from former clients as to how a particular attorney handles a mediation.Additionally, make sure the attorney you choose speaks favorably regarding mediation as the benefits of a successful resolution without going to court will, in the long run, be best for both parties.
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