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Divorce mediation in Florida

Parties to a contested divorce in Florida can usually expect to spend some time in mediation. Most courts have specific minimum requirements for mediation sessions, especially when the couple has minor children.

Many couples also opt for mediation of their own volition. Understanding how mediation works and consulting your attorney throughout the process can help you take advantage of the benefits it offers.

How it works

A trained, neutral mediator acts as a facilitator to enable the couple to communicate and work out compromises. A mediator can help by framing issues and concerns, as well as suggesting potential solutions. He or she cannot give advice or compel the parties to do anything. If the parties do not arrive at an agreement, they can leave the mediation process and proceed to litigate the issues. 

Common benefits

One important benefit of mediation is learning some effective communication skills, which is particularly important for parents of young children, who will have to continue working with one another for years after the divorce. Constructive communication and the ability to compromise can benefit children and parents alike by deescalating the levels of stress and hostility.

Mediation can also save substantial time and money, as it presents far fewer formal requirements than in-court litigation. On the other hand, this also means less discovery and no power to compel anyone to produce documents. If you have grounds to suspect your soon-to-be ex of deceptive conduct, such as concealing assets, mediation may not serve you well.

Mediation and other forms of collaborative law can give you more control over outcomes. Courts decide issues such as parenting time, property division and spousal support based on specific statutory factors. Mediation can help you arrive at out-of-the-box solutions that may differ from what a court would decide but that work best for you and your family.

How to prepare

Preparing for mediation and taking the process seriously can help you reap benefits even if you are not ultimately able to reach an agreement. Prepare lists of assets and other financial information. Prioritizing your goals and defining them is another vital aspect. Parents should also consider the factors that will affect their children; issues to discuss may include schooling, extracurriculars, medical care and more.

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  • The Florida Bar| Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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