What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that assists litigants in resolving their legal issues without the necessity of adversarial court proceedings. A neutral third party who is certified by the Supreme Court of Florida will assist the parties in reaching an agreement on the issues in their case. Mediation is almost always court-ordered in divorce and other family law matters. Therefore, choosing mediation prior to starting a court action can save money, time, and the stress of litigation. Mediation can be accomplished with or without attorneys present for the parties. All that is necessary is the agreement of both parties to attend mediation and the selection of a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator.
Benefits of Mediation:
Mediation provides an opportunity for the parties to work together with the assistance of a professional who is trained in negotiation. The Mediator can assist the parties in sorting out the issues and exploring creative alternatives for settlement. This can save time and money by avoiding the lengthy litigation process. Mediation may result in a full agreement on all issues, a partial agreement on some of the issues, or an impasse (no agreement on any issue). Even a partial agreement can save time, money, and stress, because the court will have fewer issues to deal with and the parties will have resolved the uncertainty of court as to the issues that were resolved. In cases with simple and straightforward issues or when both parties are knowledgeable about all the relevant facts of the case, especially financial information, mediation can be a good option for resolving your case without litigation.
Mediation offers a safe and confidential opportunity to explore settlement options in your case. Pursuant to the Florida Mediation Rules, all communications that occur during the mediation must remain confidential and generally cannot be used against either party if litigation later becomes necessary. The mediation process also offers the opportunity to resolve your case at a lower cost, in less time, and with less emotional distress for the parties and the family.
Is Mediation the Best Choice for Your Case?
Mediation offers many benefits, but it is not always the best option for your case. In situations where one of the parties has little to no knowledge of the relevant facts, such as the family finances and the existence of assets and debts, that party may be unable to make informed decisions about the issues and the available options for settlement. This can be resolved when both parties share information with each other, but in a situation when one party refuses to provide information, mediation may not be the best option, or it may need to be used in conjunction with another process option. In situations with a lot of complex financial issues, especially when coupled with parenting issues, the Collaborative Process may be a more desirable option.
If you attend mediation without an attorney, you won't have the benefit of legal advice during the mediation. A mediator is not permitted to give legal advice, even if your mediator is also an attorney. You can take your attorney with you to a mediation session, or you can meet with your attorney before a mediation session to help you prepare. If you want an attorney to review an agreement reached in mediation, you should not sign the agreement at the mediation because once signed, the agreement is binding.
Mediation at The Loris Law Group:
The Loris Law Group provides mediation services for all family court matters, including divorce, paternity, child support, alimony, property issues, contempt and enforcement, and modifications. At the Loris Law Group, mediation services are provided by Attorney Tiffany Loris, a Supreme Court Certified Mediator who is also an experienced family law trial attorney. Therefore, mediation will offer the parties the benefit of a neutral legal professional, well-versed in Florida family law, who can act as a facilitator to encourage discussion and joint problem solving between the parties.
Although a mediator is not permitted to give legal advice during a mediation, a mediator who is also a family law attorney may offer advantages to your case. For example, an Attorney/Mediator will be experienced in drafting legal documents, which will be beneficial as the mediator prepares the Mediation Agreement so that the details are adequately addressed.
The Loris Law Group has a centrally located mediation facility and offers multiple conference rooms for convenience and confidentiality. If you believe mediation could be right for your case, call The Loris Law Group to inquire about our fees and to schedule a mediation session. We can contact the other party for you to inquire about their willingness to participate in the mediation process.