Divorce mediation is a common choice for obtaining a divorce in Florida. Its collaborative framework attempts to put both parties at ease and make them feel heard. Though it is not preferable for every situation, you may be surprised at the many benefits associated with mediation as a method for divorcing from a spouse. It should be noted that mediators do not necessarily keep parties informed on all of the legal ramifications of each decision.
They are not legally representing either person and allow any decision as long as it is not illegal. Therefore, if you choose divorce mediation, you may want to consult dependable Gainesville attorneys to advise you in between sessions. Contact the Law Office of Silverman, Mack & Associates for superior legal advice throughout your divorce mediation.
What Are The Benefits Of Mediation?
During litigation procedures, both parties are represented by divorce attorneys chosen by the couples. Thorough and aggressive steps are then taken by both lawyers which can quickly put couples on the defensive. Mediation offers the exact opposite. Your mediator will not represent either of you, but will instead focus on facilitating conversation. This format allows you to remain in control. If you decide to proceed with mitigation, you and your spouse will be able to make decisions for yourselves — unlike with divorce litigation — which is especially helpful with complex matters, such as children’s issues. Working together to make compromises will hopefully set a helpful precedent of improved communication for all future parenting decisions.
Mediation is also advantageous because it is a series of informal conversations, which helps to speed up the process and greatly reduce the financial expenses that are traditionally associated with divorces. Divorce mediation is also considered to be less emotionally taxing than divorce litigation. Both the couple and mediator agree to confidentiality so that true opinions can be expressed throughout mediation sessions without fear of consequences. Divorce litigations are different in that all proceedings are considered public and may put undue stress on any children involved.
What Issues Can Be Resolved Through Mediation?
To avoid divorce litigation, a number of issues — including the following — must be resolved between spouses through mediation. For more information or assistance with the mediation and divorce process, contact us to schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney.
- Other special needs
- Financial settlements
What Should I Expect During Mediation?
Each mediator will have a slightly different procedure they use to complete mediation, but most have several common factors. The mediator will begin by calling each spouse separately and obtaining background information on the family and the situation. The amount of information they wish to collect will vary depending on the mediator. You, your spouse, and the mediator will convene for the first time and each party will be permitted to make a statement. During this session, your mediator will determine whether he or she will meet with both of you separately or if you will all confer simultaneously. Additionally, you will create a list of the issues that must be resolved.
Many people fear the ability of the mediator to consider the opinions of each spouse equally. Even if one spouse tends to be more dominant than the other, it is the responsibility of the mediator to make sure that both are heard equally. Further, because mediators are not able to make decisions for the couple, one party needs only to express their dissatisfaction with a topic to prevent a conclusion from being made. Mediation is capable of benefiting couples even if they are hostile. Mediators are highly trained in facilitating communication between angry parties. Throughout the process, couples can relax, begin to participate, and avoid the dangers associated with litigation.
How Is Mediation Different From Litigation?
In a standard divorce, couples consult the divorce lawyers Gainesville, FL, has to offer who are then responsible for individuals representing them. However, with the help of a mediator, only one professional is necessary. This mediator will listen to both sides and facilitate communication until solutions are agreed upon. The mediation process is much more informal than other proceedings and each party gets the chance to clearly explain their opinions for themselves which increases the likelihood that both parties will be satisfied.
Unlike litigated divorces, nothing can be decided for the couple by a mediator. Because the couple is working together to create a plan, it is beneficial if they are able to get along. Yet, it is important to note that divorce mediators are highly trained and experienced with working in high-stress environments. Even if you and your spouse are barely speaking, a mediator’s job is to make sure that both parties are heard equally.
Divorce Mediation Myths
Mediation Takes Longer Than Litigation
Some people assume the mediation process drags out the divorce and takes longer than litigation would. However, mediation is not a lengthier process than litigation. It's quite the opposite. Divorce mediation allows separating spouses to set a timeframe for resolving their issues rather than waiting months for their next court date. Even when divorcing couples have worked everything out ahead of time, and their lawyers can settle outside of the court, litigation tends to take just as long or longer than mediation.
Mediation Doesn't Work Unless Ex-Spouses Are On Good Terms
Many divorcing couples believe that mediation is ineffective unless they are on amicable terms with one another — this is simply untrue. While the mediation process would undoubtedly be simpler if both parties agreed to be respectful and understand one another, mediation can be just as effective for parties who aren't on good terms. In fact, divorcing spouses with tumultuous relationships might find mediation less stressful than adversarial litigation, often heated, expensive, and emotionally draining. A skilled mediator can guide spouses through the process to help resolve complex issues and attain a compromise.
Mediation Means Settling For Less
Unfortunately, some individuals approach divorce as a battle, assuming it's about taking your spouse to court for all their worth and that opting for mediation means settling for less. Frankly, it's rare for one spouse to end up taking a significant majority in a divorce, as many judges end up ruling in favor of a 50/50 split. Mediation, however, makes room for compromise and creates an environment where spouses can voice their concerns and desires. Generally, divorce mediation provides a more satisfying settlement for both spouses.
Mediation Is Always Better Than Litigation
Every divorce is unique, and while mediation works wonders for some separating couples, litigation may be a better option for others. Mediation is effective so long as both parties are willing to participate and behave appropriately. However, others may find that mediation doesn't offer enough protection or structure. For instance, couples with a history of domestic abuse will likely benefit from having their lawyers discuss settlement on their behalf rather than negotiating with one another directly. If you're unsure whether mediation or litigation is the right choice and need help weighing your options, contact our experienced attorneys in Gainesville, FL!
Mediation & Divorce FAQs
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Separation and divorce can be harrowing and emotionally taxing experiences for everyone involved. Divorce mediation seeks to reduce the problems, especially financial and emotional issues, brought on by a divorce. Mediators aim to help couples negotiate their settlement while keeping any involved children out of the middle of the dispute. In addition, mediators can help show couples how to work together during the separation process, despite the anger they may be feeling.
How Does Divorce Mediation Work?
A specially trained mediator will help couples come to agreements handling both immediate and long-term concerns while helping to identify issues and possible solutions. The mediator's job is not to advocate for one side or another or make decisions. Instead, their job is only to help explore all options and their consequences. In addition, they will help balance power so that even if one party is a better negotiator, the power dynamic will be balanced.
What Are The Steps Involved?
During the first mediation session, the mediation process will be explained. Then in the following sessions, the mediator will begin discussing the couple's concerns and gathering their financial data. During the entire mediation process, the mediator will take great care to help ensure that each family member's needs are considered. Finally, once a tentative divorce agreement has been reached, a formal agreement can be drafted.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
The cost of divorce mediation is charged on an hourly basis, and the fees vary by location and complexity of the mediation needed. However, the cost of mediation, including attorney review, is typically less than the cost of a litigated divorce.
What Is "Pre-Suit" Divorce Mediation?
A "pre-suit" divorce is an alternative to divorce litigation and is a voluntary process chosen by divorcing couples who want to avoid the financial and emotional costs of litigating their disputes. Those who choose this method choose to work together with a mediator to settle their issues without going to court for issues related to their divorce and separation.
What Does A Divorce Mediator Do?
A divorce mediator is a neutral third party who has been specially trained and has the necessary experience to help divorcing or separating couples resolve their issues and reach an agreement. When an agreement is reached at the end of the mediation process, an attorney can help you draft the divorce agreement and file the court documents with the court.
Will I Be Left With A Legally Binding Agreement?
Yes, the agreement reached with the mediator's help will be legally binding as they are required to be signed by both parties and are required to be notarized. Agreements reached through mediation are just as binding as those reached through the court process.
What If I'm Not Happy With Mediation?
A mediator has no power to make any decisions in your life or even to make you attend these meetings. If you are unhappy with mediation, you can simply stand up and leave mediation. However, be aware that divorce mediation is a difficult process, and negative emotions are a part of the process.
Can Other Persons Attend Or Participate In The Divorce Mediation Session?
Other people may attend divorce mediation sessions, but only if both parties agree, including children, though they aren't allowed to attend the first session. Other professionals, such as accountants, child psychologists, or attorneys, may be present in a mediation session to clarify specific issues or to offer their advice on the situation. Parties may also bring a relative or friend for support, but both parties must agree and set certain limitations on how they can participate in the session.
When Should We Begin Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation should begin when the couple decides to divorce. The sooner the couple seeks out a divorce mediator, the sooner the mediator will help the couple resolve their problems and get them to the final goal of getting a divorce.
Will The Mediator Pressure Us Into Saving Our Marriage?
A mediator's job isn't to be a couples therapist or try to talk you into saving your marriage. Instead, mediators are simply there to help you develop solutions to issues that come with separation and divorce in ways that both parties feel are workable.
When Is Mediation Not Appropriate?
Mediation is not an appropriate solution when there is physical or emotional abuse from either party. Mediation is also not appropriate when a spouse's judgment is impaired by drugs, alcohol, or mental disability.