Divorce is often fraught with pain, anger, and resentment. Hard feelings and differences of opinion may make it difficult for both sides to reach an amicable agreement. As a result, many couples go through an exhausting, expensive legal battle over property division, custody, and child support issues.
Mediation can help the divorcing couple avoid litigation and achieve satisfactory compromises on high-stake points. The divorce attorneys of Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm of Pembroke Pines, Weston, and Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, explain how divorce mediation works in Florida.
What Is Mediation?
During mediation, both divorcing spouses and their attorneys voluntarily agree to meet with an independent, neutral mediator to work out any conflict-prone issues like asset distribution, time sharing, or alimony. Mediators facilitate and promote agreement that suits both parties. They are not decision makers like arbitrators and judges.
In Florida, mediation is statutorily required for divorcing parties and parties resolving paternity litigation’s before trying the case in court. The exception is relationships in which one party has been subject to abuse and the balance of power is inappropriate for alternative dispute resolution such as a mediation. The goal is to help couples achieve an uncontested divorce, which requires agreement on key issues such as:
While you don’t have to sign a legal agreement during divorce mediation, you must attend a mediation conference if the judge orders it, or you may face court sanctions.
Who Chooses My Mediator?
Generally, the spouses can choose any mediator they prefer once the court orders mediation. If the couple can’t find a mediator that suits them both, the judge will appoint one after 10 days from the order.
In Florida, spouses earning a combined income of under $100,000.00 are entitled to use the Court-subsidized family mediation program. That program assigns a mediator to the case.
When Does Mediation Take Place?
Couples can opt for mediation at any stage of the divorce proceedings, even after the final dissolution of their marriage. However, working with a mediator at the early stages of separation may enable the spouses to achieve an uncontested divorce in a comparatively quick, painless way.
Choosing mediation early on gives the divorcing couple a better chance to work out their disagreements. It is best to begin negotiating before arguments over money or custody escalate to heated altercations and cooperation becomes impossible.
In some cases, ex-spouses will resort to mediation after divorce, especially if they have minor children. Family mediation may help if one of the parents wants to dispute child support or time-sharing arrangement or if the custodial parent wants to relocate with the children.
Why Is Mediation Preferable to Litigation?
In some cases, sadly, it is impossible to complete a divorce without litigation. If one of the sides is vindictive or unreasonable, a divorce case may end up in court. However, divorce court battles are often drawn-out, stressful, exhausting, and costly.
Reaching a cooperative, well-balanced divorce agreement is preferable to litigation in nearly 100% of the cases. Consider the following:
Mediation can save time, stress, and money for both parties
Mediation allows both sides a higher level of control over property division, spousal support, and other crucial points in a divorce settlement
Mediation enables families to keep a higher level of privacy during divorce proceedings
Unlike courtroom litigation, mediation allows both parties a lot of flexibility and back-and-forth dialogue. In contrast, a court verdict may not satisfy either party and is difficult to appeal.
Finally, mediation enables each member of a couple to complete the divorce, regain their freedom, and move on to the next stage in their lives a lot sooner compared to the litigation process.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer If I Work With a Mediator?
It’s vital to remember that mediators are intended to be neutral and are not supposed to provide legal advice. If your spouse or their lawyer tries to convince you to sign an unfair settlement, the mediator may not stop you from forfeiting your lawful rights. Their primary goal is to have both sides walk out of the meeting with a voluntary agreement.
Your divorce attorney will help represent your interests during mediation. For instance, your lawyer may:
Make sure you understand your legal rights under Florida divorce laws
Negotiate an equitable settlement on your behalf
Review a settlement proposal for any contestable or ambiguous points
Help prepare legal paperwork
Even if a proposed settlement seems acceptable to you, we strongly recommend against signing anything before your lawyer reviews it.
Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm: Your Mediation and “Divorce Attorney Near Me” in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, FL
Mediation can help you cut down on legal fees, avoid a nasty court battle, and preserve your peace of mind. However, you need committed, experienced legal representation to make sure you achieve a fair divorce settlement. When you consider hiring a divorce lawyer, choose a results-driven, committed law firm that treats you as an individual and custom-builds a legal strategy to suit your needs. Our bilingual law firm is passionate about helping people protect their children and assets during divorce and other family law matters. We settle where we can and fight when we must.
The family lawyers of Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm leverage their expertise to help you pass through a divorce with minimum mental, emotional, and financial damage. Be free, be happy! Call us at (954) 447-2580 or complete our online form today to schedule your strategy session with a Florida divorce attorney. We have offices in Pembroke Pines, Weston, and Sunny Isles Beach, FL.