Family Law Mediation
What is it?
Mediation is a process that allows the parties to negotiate with the help of a neutral and skilled professional mediator. The goal of Mediation is to help the parties settle the case without the necessity of a trial.
Mediators are neutral third parties who are certified by the State of Florida in dispute resolution. Mediators are typically lawyers, counselors, psychologists and other professionals who have attended courses and receive continuing education to acquire and maintain their skills. The role of the mediator in a divorce, custody or other family law matter is to assist the parties in settling before they proceed to trial.
Matters discussed in mediation are “confidential.” They cannot be brought up at trial, and the mediator cannot be called to court to testify to anything said in the course of the mediation. This confidentiality allows the parties the freedom to make offers of settlement and proposals that they might otherwise be afraid to make for fear that they might be used against them later in court.
If Mediation is successful, the parties will sign a “Mediation Agreement” that sets forth the terms of the agreement. The Mediation Agreement is submitted to the Court for approval and incorporation into an Order.
If the parties are not able to reach an agreement at Mediation, the Mediator will report only that the parties did not reach an agreement (referred to as an “impasse”).
Often parties in family law cases are reticent to attend mediation and believe that it will accomplish nothing. Despite this, it is crucial to participate in the mediation process with an open mind. Often parties arrive at solutions that they never considered before attending mediation. Most family law cases settle in Mediation.