Couples in Florida who are beginning the divorce process and have complex issues they want to resolve might wish to consider an alternative to litigation. Divorce mediation is an alternative way to resolve divorce issues without resorting to a drawn-out court battle.
How does divorce mediation work?
Mediation is a process that takes several sessions with the final number depending on the amount and complexity of the issues that need to be resolved and the willingness of both parties to work together to resolve them. During mediation, a neutral mediator, who might be a legal or psychology professional, meets with the spouses seeking a divorce, usually together, and listens to each party present their case. In some situations, if the parties have a contentious relationship that makes it impossible to move forward while in the same room, the mediator will meet with the parties separately and provide information back and forth as the negotiations move along. This is also known as caucusing. After the parties resolve their issues, the mediator helps draw up a written plan with their agreement, which both parties can sign, and which can then become a court order for the divorce.
What will happen during the mediation sessions?
During the mediation sessions, the mediator might provide information about the law and state requirements but will not offer legal advice. The mediator will also encourage each party to share their questions and work together towards solutions. Some of the issues that couples can resolve with mediation include:
- Child custody and parenting plans
- Child support and alimony
- Division of property
- Pension and retirement plans
If a couple cannot reach an agreement on all their issues, they can still draw up a partial agreement to submit to the court. They can then seek litigation for the rest of the unresolved issues.
Benefits of mediation
Mediation offers a private way to resolve complex divorce issues as the parties discuss them in private and with complete confidentiality. The mediation process usually takes less time than a litigated divorce and can be less expensive as well.