Litigation, which means going to court and allowing a judge to decide matters in your divorce, is incredibly expensive, time consuming and exhausting. It is commonplace to spend tens of thousands of dollars and several years in the litigation process. There are no guarantees that the outcome of a litigated case will be favorable to anyone. In most cases, the end result could have been attained by agreement and without financial devastation and disruption to the parties and children.
Although we are brought up to believe in the ideal marriage– the one that lasts ’til death do us part– it is the exception rather than the rule. The fact is that the majority of marriages end in divorce. There are methods of approaching a divorce, even if you are the party who does not want it, that will minimize its devastating impact. One such method is mediation.
Mediation is an out of court process in which a person who is trained in negotiation and dispute resolution lends a hand. The mediator is not a judge. The mediator does not get to decide the case. The mediator does not take sides. The mediator is the unbiased, neutral person who helps the divorcing parties arrive at an agreement.
Mediators are only involved in a case for a very short time and are required to maintain confidentiality. They cannot discuss your case with anyone other than the parties. They do not interview friends, family members or children. They only speak to the parties and their attorneys, if they have attorneys. Mediators do not have any stake in the outcome of the negotiations. They are neutral, no matter what the facts are, and their sole objective is to obtain a resolution of the case.
Mediation only works if both parties are willing to participate and if both parties recognize that it makes more sense to settle the case– and compromise on certain issues– than to put decisions into the hands of a judge to decide.
Mediation is appropriate in almost all divorce and family law cases. There are only a limited number of circumstances when your case may not be appropriate for mediation such as cases of child abuse, domestic abuse, and severe mental illness. In most cases, and in Florida specifically, it is required that the parties attend mediation before proceeding to trial.
There is no harm in proceeding to mediation as your first step. Even if the case is not resolved through mediation, the process is confidential. The discussions held in a mediation are confidential and cannot be brought up in court. This allows the parties to have the freedom to discuss real settlement options and allays any fear that what they talk about in mediation will be used against them.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR ALTERNATIVES TO A LEGAL BATTLE, MEDIATION IS AN EXCELLENT FIRST STEP.
Ms. Jefferis has been a certified Family law Mediator for more than ten (10) years. If you wish to retain Ms. Jefferis as a mediator in your case, please contact our office. A meeting will be scheduled, either by telephone or in person, with both you and the other party to go over the rules and procedure.
Mediations can be scheduled during the weekend or evenings upon request.
We look forward to serving you.