Mediation can help parties amicably resolve their issues without the need for litigation. Florida law mandates mediation in most family court actions. The Eaton Family Law Firm can help you prepare for your mediation session and ensure your best interests are protected during the mediation process.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is the voluntary process of negotiating a settlement to issues between two parties. Mediation is used in family law as an alternative dispute resolution process. Both parties agree to come together to discuss the various issues in their family court case including but not limited to spousal support, child custody, time-sharing agreements, child support, division of assets, and division of marital debts. The goal of mediation is to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement that settles all matters related to the family court action in terms that benefit all parties.
Benefits and Advantages of Mediation in Family Law
There are several benefits and advantages to agreeing to mediate your family law case including:
- Privacy — The discussions during mediation are confidential. They do not become part of the public court record. Therefore, your private family matters remain private instead of being part of the court record.
- Cost — In many cases, the cost of mediation is less than litigating the matter in court. When parties are close to an agreement, mediation can result in a resolution without a prolonged court battle.
- Time — In addition to saving money, mediation can also save time. An agreement presented to the court by the parties can often be approved much quicker than a case can be settled through normal litigation procedures.
- Tailored Agreements — Your family and your situation are unique and no one knows what your family needs better than you. Instead of allowing a judge who does not know you or your child to make important decisions about your lives, use mediation to make those decisions for yourself. An agreement that you work out with your ex-partner meets your needs much better than a judge’s order.
- Satisfaction —Parties who settle their differences through mediation are generally more satisfied with the terms of the agreement than they are with a judge’s order. Furthermore, parties who work together to develop an agreement through mediation are more likely to follow through with the terms of the settlement.
- Control — When you litigate family court matters, the judge issues a ruling that is binding on both parties. However, in a meditation, you are in control over the terms of the settlement.
- Preservation of Relationships — This is very important for parents. During mediation, you may be able to talk through some of the issues that are bothering you and find a resolution to those issues. Furthermore, mediation fosters a spirit of compromise whereas litigation fosters an atmosphere of adversity. Mediation can help you retain a civil relationship with your ex-partner.
- Informal Proceedings — Mediation is an informal process. You do not have the strict rules and structure you do in a courtroom setting. Therefore, parties feel more relaxed and open to being flexible to resolve issues.
- Mediators — Mediators are impartial professionals who can facilitate open discussions between the parties by guiding the discussion. Mediators keep conversations focused on the matters to be settled rather than allowing parties to break down into needless and hurtful accusations.