Is Divorce Mediation Mandatory in Florida?
Divorce trials are not as common as they once were. At one time, the majority of divorce cases had to go to trial, which has led many people to imagine a long bitter courtroom battle. However, Florida has established different alternative dispute resolution methods over the past several years. Legislation passed in 1987 gave family law judges the statutory authority to refer cases to mediation or arbitration. It also was not until even more recently, in 2017, that the state passed the Florida Collaborative Law Process Act.
If you are getting a contested divorce in Florida, it is mandatory that you attend mediation sessions first. Below, our Orlando mediation lawyer explains more about the process.
What Happens During Mediation?
Contrary to what many people think, mediation does not stop divorce proceedings. In fact, mediation is simply a part of the proceedings and gives couples an opportunity to settle their disputes outside of the courtroom. Mediation is not necessary in uncontested divorce cases. When a couple disagrees on just one term of their case, though, it becomes a contested divorce and mediation is necessary.
During mediation, the couple meets with a neutral third party mediator. You can meet with the mediator together or separately. Mediators are trained in conflict resolution and their role is to help you communicate and compromise more effectively with your spouse. A mediator will not provide legal advice, but they will try to help you reach an agreement with your spouse.
Your lawyer may or may not be present during mediation sessions. Even if your lawyer does not attend, it is still very important that you work with one. A lawyer will make sure your rights are protected throughout the mediation process.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
While you may think that mediation will only add more time to your divorce case, that is not the case if the process is successful. One of the biggest benefits of divorce mediation is that it can help you resolve your disputes faster than litigation. If you take your case to trial, you will be subject to the schedule of the court and it could take up to one year or more to finalize your case.
Mediation is also much more affordable than litigation. Again, if your case goes to trial, you will incur additional court costs and lawyers often charge more for representing clients during trial instead of reaching a settlement.
The biggest benefit of divorce mediation, though, is that it gives you control over the process. Instead of a judge making all of the decisions in your case, you can create customized solutions that work for your entire family.
Our Mediation Lawyer in Orlando Can Help You Through the Process
Divorce mediation is a very beneficial process but you should not go through it alone. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando mediation lawyer will negotiate with the other side on your behalf, make sure your rights are protected, and give you the best chance of making sure it is successful. Call us now at 407-412-7041 or contact us online for a free consultation and to learn more.