Understanding Mediation in a Florida Divorce
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It is considered mandatory in a Florida divorce to pursue mediation prior to litigating your divorce. A litigated divorce is similar to what you see on television programs that like to turn up the heat on the drama. Most television programs would not air an episode with a mediated divorce because there is considerably less conflict. This gives folks the impression that litigation is the standard way to dissolve a marriage. But it isn’t. Instead, the majority of divorce cases are mediated. In fact, Florida law requires that parties at least try mediation before attempting to litigate their divorce.
The mediation process sometimes breaks down, however, and the courts are called in to make decisions concerning asset distribution, alimony, and more. Child support and custody is always the purview of the courts to decide. A Tampa, FL divorce mediation attorney can help you and your spouse reach an agreement that saves you time and money and avoids the emotional cost of litigation.
What is mediation in a Florida divorce?
During mediation, both parties will meet with a mediator who acts as a neutral judge. The mediator tries to help the parties resolve their dispute without court intervention. If an agreement can be reached, it will be written up and submitted to the court for approval. If the court signs off on the mediated agreement, then your divorce will be finalized and you can go your separate ways.
Myths about mediation in a Florida divorce
Some people are under the erroneous impression that the mediator will make all of the decisions during the divorce. One of the main goals of mediation is to help both spouses find an accord so that the decision-making power stays in their hands. The mediator makes no decisions but rather guides the parties toward an agreement. In a litigated divorce, the judge makes all of the decisions. The decision-making power is out of your hands.
Another myth that people believe is that mediation is guaranteed to resolve the dispute. It isn’t. If an agreement between the two parties cannot be reached in mediation, the case would proceed to litigation. While Florida couples are required to try mediation, there is no guarantee that they will reach an agreement. If not, the case would head toward litigation.
Another myth is that mediation is not appropriate for high-conflict divorces. If the parties cannot remain civil, they still need to attempt to mediate the divorce rather than litigate it. It is true that the more conflict there is between the spouses, the harder it will be to reach an agreement. However, reducing costs related to your divorce can only be achieved in mediation.
Talk to a Tampa, FL Divorce Mediation Attorney Today
Westchase Law, P.A. can help you save money by mediating your divorce. For more information on how we can help, please don’t hesitate to call our Tampa family lawyers with any questions or concerns you may have.