Florida Family Law Mediator

What you need to know about Family LAw Mediation

What you need to know about Family Law Mediation

What is Mediation? Is an informal process where the parties meet with a Mediator to discuss and explore possible resolutions to their family law case. The goal of the Mediation is to reach an amicable resolution of the issues presented.

What is the Mediator’s Role? The Mediator acts to encourage a resolution of a dispute without dictating what the resolution should be. The Mediator's sole purpose is to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable settlement.

Mediation is
not Arbitration. Arbitration involves presenting the facts of a case and the parties' arguments to an arbitrator, who then renders a decision in the case that may be binding on the parties. The Mediator does not have the authority to decide issues or to "force" a party to settle. The Mediator listens to the parties’ positions and arguments, while helping them to find common ground for settlement.

Is Mediation mandatory? In Florida, the Court typically requires parties with family law cases, such as divorce, paternity, and timesharing to attend mediation. Domestic violence cases and cases for injunctions are usually not ordered to mediate.

Why are parties ordered to Mediation? Because Mediation works. The overwhelming majority of family law cases are settled and not decided by Judge after a trial. Only about 10-15% of all family law cases are tried before a Judge.

Can Mediation occur prior to the filing of a Petition with the Court? Yes. In this instance, the mediation is referred to as a “pre-suit” mediation. Since a formal action has not been filed with the Court, the parties must first agree to attend a pre-suit mediation.

Where does the Mediation take place? The Mediation can take place anywhere the parties what to hold it. However, most often, the Mediation is conducted at the Courthouse or in a private office.

What happens in Mediation? The Mediator is in control of the Mediation Conference and sets the rules and procedures to be followed. The Mediator may have the parties meet in the same room, or the Mediator may separate the parties and meet individually with each party. It is very common for Mediators to begin the mediation by separating the parties. This is frequently done so that both parties feel comfortable and are afforded an opportunity to privately discuss their issues with the Mediator.

Normally, the Conference begins with an explanation of Mediation presented by the Mediator. The parties then are usually given an opportunity to explain the facts of the case and their positions. Systematically, the Mediator guides the parties through the issues in an attempt to reach an agreement.

The Mediation Conference may last only a few minutes or may extend for several hours depending upon what issues are presented. The Mediation can be completed in one session or several sessions depending upon the facts of the case and the needs of the parties.

What are the advantages of Mediation?