Orlando Mediation Lawyer
Most often the best way to handle a divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter is for the parties to sit down together and work out the arrangements between themselves. Whenever the parties can collaborate and create their own property settlement agreement, marital settlement agreement, or parenting plan and timesharing schedule, the result is much more likely to meet their needs and work better than a decision imposed on both parties by a family court judge.
At Anderson & Ferrin, our Orlando family law attorneys encourage amicable settlements and represent our clients in negotiations whenever possible. But we also know that parties cannot always agree on their own, and without a formal structure in place to guide their conversations, things can fall apart and actually end up worse than if the parties had simply gone to court in the first place. There is a third option, however, and that is to refer the matter to mediation. Contact Orlando mediation lawyers Anderson & Ferrin to discuss using mediation to resolve your important family law matter.
Florida Divorce Mediation – What it is and how it works
A mediator is a neutral third party who is trained at getting parties to communicate with one another and helping them reach agreement when they are apart on one or more issues. The mediator does not make decisions or force either party to accept a particular result. Rather, the mediator serves as a facilitator, guiding the couple through the process of reaching agreement on the outstanding issues in their divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. While the mediator typically does not provide legal advice to either side, the mediator is often an experienced family law attorney who can explain Florida divorce law and process and make suggestions regarding possible solutions.
Each party in the mediation can be represented by their own attorney who may either speak for them in the mediation or play a supportive and advisory role, depending on the circumstances. A family law attorney from Anderson & Ferrin can provide this advice and representation to help your mediation end successfully with your needs and goals met and with your important rights protected.
At the end of the mediation, the mediator may draw up a formal document outlining the agreement. Once signed by both parties, the document can be submitted to the family court judge and incorporated into the final divorce decree. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the parties are still free to go to court and litigate their dispute. Often, they have narrowed the issues or exited mediation with a better understanding of their differences, making any litigation less drawn-out or hostile. Florida divorce mediation can be voluntary or court-ordered in counties like Orange County with a family mediation program.
How family law mediation can benefit you
Here are some of the main reasons couples choose to mediate their divorce or child custody matter:
Speed – Florida court caseloads are often backlogged and overly burdened, and it can take months just to get a hearing scheduled on the docket. A mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled as soon as you are ready. A mediation may last only a couple of days or even concluded in half a day, depending on the complexity of the issues and the willingness of the parties to come together.
Cost – Preparing for a mediation is quicker and easier than preparing for a trial – there are typically no lengthy depositions, requests for voluminous documents, or the need to resort to expert witnesses. A mediation can be thousands of dollars less than a trial. Both parties typically split the cost of hiring a mediator.
Informality – In court, there are strict rules about what gets talked about and how it is introduced, usually through testimony or other types of evidence. In a mediation, the parties can openly talk about what matters to them without having to prepare evidence or face objections from the other side.
Confidentiality – Trials are public, but mediations are private. Although the resulting agreement may eventually become public record as part of the divorce decree, the process itself can be kept confidential and closed to the public, helping the parties relax and talk more freely.
Implementation – Parties in mediation are free to explore their interests and custom tailor the result to meet their needs. Since both parties were personally invested in creating the solution as opposed to having it handed down by a judge, each party feels a personal stake in the agreement and is more likely to voluntarily implement its terms, without either party having to go back to court for enforcement.
Our Orlando Mediation Lawyers are Ready to Help You Mediate Your Divorce
If you are dealing with a divorce or custody matter in Orange County, call the family law attorneys at Anderson & Ferrin in Orlando for a free consultation about using mediation to resolve your differences. Whatever you decide, we’ll work to resolve your case in the most efficient, effective and practical manner.