Reaching An Agreement Out Of Court
In Florida, before a couple go to trial in a contested divorce, the law requires the couple to go through mediation. Mediation can be a low cost alternative to going to trial if the spouses can come to an agreement on most of the issues through negotiation. Mediation also helps speed up the divorce process as it generally takes a shorter time than litigation.
Mediation is a method of dispute resolution where a trained professional, known as a mediator, helps parties come to an agreement regarding disputed issues through negotiation. For mediation to be effective, the mediator has to be a neutral party. The mediator does not make ruling as a judge would in a case, and does not follow the same procedures a judge would.
Mediators are supposed to be trained professionals, and people who are going through mediation should ensure that the mediator is trained and certified. There are requirements that mediators who want to be Florida Supreme Court certified mediators have to meet. Courts often have lists of mediators that a couple may use if they are going through the mediation process. Couples are also allowed to hire private mediators if they so choose.
The mediator works with both sides to come up with a solution that both sides can agree to, first by talking to each side individually, and then to both sides together. The major issues and contentions are discussed in an atmosphere that is less formal than a court proceeding. However, the agreement that the parties come up with in mediation is then approved by a judge as part of the final divorce judgment, and becomes legally binding.
Mediation can be particularly helpful for couples with children. Mediation can help the parents work together to come up with solutions for issues affecting the children that are in the best interest of the children. The parents’ cooperation through this process can help them co-parent better after the divorce is finalized.
In order to ensure that a person does not inadvertently give up legal rights in mediation, it is important to have any agreement reviewed by an experienced attorney before signing off and submitting it to a judge for final approval. In fact, attorneys can help people going through mediation and be a part of the process, ensuring that the client’s needs are not lost in the negotiations.
Attorneys can also be helpful when a person feels the mediator is favoring the other side, the attorney can ensure that the final agreement is not one sided or unfair to his client. If a mediator is not truly neutral, the parties can try and agree to a new mediator in order to continue with the process.
Contact Us to Learn More about Mediation
Our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients through mediation, we work with clients to prepare them for the mediation process, and through the process to ensure that the ultimate agreement represents a fair settlement of the issues. For more information or a consultation to learn how mediation can help you get through your divorce, contact an experienced and compassionate Boca Raton, Florida divorce attorney at Law Offices of Schwartz White for legal assistance.