Every time the subject of mediation comes up in one of my family law cases clients always ask me the same thing, “do I have to go to mediation”? The answer is almost always yes in Florida. The judiciary has found in Florida that the majority of family law cases settle at mediation. Even if all of the issues are not settled, usually you can get some of the major concerns resolved and save a trial for the issues you couldn’t resolve at mediation. This helps free up the court dockets and allows for shorter trials or no trial at all in most family law cases.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution where two represented or un-respresented parties meet with a disinterested third party mediator, usually an attorney that is certified as a mediator, who helps them come to an agreement on the outstanding issues in their family law case. The decision of the mediator is not binding unless the parties agree to the terms and sign a consent final judgment or marital settlement agreement at the end of the mediation.
The key advantage of mediation is that you negotiate for terms you are willing to accept as opposed to submitting the facts of your case to a judge to make a decision. You have to remember though that negotiations involve give and take. You may have to compromise your position somewhat to get what you want from the other party and vice versa. Although you may not get everything you want, you can usually end up with more than you may have gotten at trial with less risk. Judges do their best to come to a fair decision n family law cases. However, the judges only get a small picture of the issues involved and have to make a decision that will affect you for the rest of your life based on this limited disclosure. At mediation you and your spouse know the entire history of your case and can usually resolve the issues better with a little bit of compromise.
If you have questions about Florida Family Law or mediation then contact a Florida Family Law Attorney.