Mediation in Florida Divorce
Divorce mediation in Florida is a voluntary form of alternative dispute resolution. Couples can agree to mediate or be ordered to participate, but any settlement that they reach is voluntary. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties identify and resolve their key disputes, but the terms of any agreement are left to the parties.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
Mediation is a preferred way to resolve divorce disputes so in most cases, the couple will be sent to mediation. The benefits include:
- Quicker resolution – Spouses may settle more issues in an afternoon session than in months of litigation.
- More economical – Solving issues quickly keeps costs down.
- Certainty – The parties know what they are agreeing to; leaving the decision to a judge leads to unpredictable results.
- Flexibility – In determining child custody matters or property division, judges follow schedules and guidelines that may not make sense for a specific couple, but mediators can help spouses create personalized plans.
- Less formal – Mediation takes place in a more relaxed setting – and less intimidating – than a courtroom.
- Personal involvement – Divorces can lead to feelings of helplessness. In mediation, the parties are involved in the process, leading to greater satisfaction and a sense of closure.
- Privacy – Litigation is a public process, but, for the most part, what happens in mediation is confidential.
Disadvantages of Divorce Mediation
While the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to be aware of the drawbacks and to talk with a Stuart divorce lawyer about how to protect your interests. Some considerations include:
- Pragmatics may take priority over legal rights; a mediator cannot provide legal advice
- One cooperative party is not enough; if one spouse will not cooperate, the session will not be successful
- Where there is a power imbalance or a history of abuse, one party may take advantage of the other
Do You Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation in Florida?
If you are going through divorce mediation in Florida, a lawyer is not required but is a good idea. The agreement you and your spouse may reach will be voluntary, but the settlement agreement will be a legally enforceable contract. The settlement will impact major areas of your life for years to come, so it is smart to have an advocate who understands the long-term implications of any terms you may consider.
Mediators may be skilled facilitators and even have in-depth legal knowledge, but they cannot advise parties. Choosing a lawyer with experience handling child custody and division of property allows you to make the most of the mediation process without inadvertently giving away any of your rights.
Speak With a Florida Divorce Lawyer
If you have questions about your divorce or mediation, call the Law Offices of Travis R. Walker, P.A. From our Stuart, Florida location, we serve clients all across the Treasure Coast. Our skilled and compassionate legal team is available for a confidential consultation to discuss your case.
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