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?


    Community Mediation Services

    I am pleased to announce that Hal Wotitzky and I have joined forces to create the Community Mediation Services for Charlotte County, Florida. Community Mediation Services is designed to provide high quality mediation services at a reduced cost for lower income individuals.

    These mediations will be conducted at our respective offices. Hal's office is in Punta Gorda at 407 E. Marion Avenue, while my office is centrally located in Port Charlotte at 20020 Veterans Boulevard.

    Our rates will be based upon the parties' combined incomes. Parties with combined gross incomes of less than $ 75,000.00 will be charged $ 50.00 per party, per hour.

    Parties with combined gross incomes of $ 75,000.00-$ 100,000.00 will be charged $ 75.00 per party, per hour.

    These mediations can be scheduled on Fridays. We have a flexible scheduling policy to meet your client's needs. Schedule by the half-day, full-day, and/or by the hour.

    Give us a call today to schedule your low costs, high quality mediation.

    CALL Hal at 941-621-4249 or email him at Hal@callthemediator.com. More information about Hal can be found

    CALL Me at 941-627-3667 or email me at msw@mirawhitelaw.com. More information about me can be found

    Mira Should Be Your Mediator

    In Florida, the requirements to become a Certified Family Law Mediator are minimal. Anyone who possesses a college degree in any subject, completes a 30-hour training program, and participates in a brief mentorship can become a Certified Family Law Mediator. These minimal requirements often lead to individuals being certified as family law mediators, who have very limited experience with the Court system and/or with the issues presented in most family law cases.

    Inadequately trained and insufficiently experienced mediators, although well-intentioned, can unknowingly do more harm than good. These mediators frequently draft agreements that are impossible to perform, are incomplete, and/or ambiguous. A poorly drafted agreement causes confusion, frustrates the parties, and leads to future litigation.

    As an experienced attorney, I have handled hundreds, if not thousands, of family law cases. I have witnessed, first-hand, the legal and emotional impact of a family law case. With that experience, I am better explain, in general terms, the law to the parties. I, also, understand the emotional turmoil often accompanying a family law case and can suggest effective ways to reduce this stress and ways in which the parties can more respectfully communicate.

    In my capacity as an attorney, I have drafted hundreds of settlement agreements from the very complicated to the most basic. As your mediator, I draw upon that experience to help prepare agreements that are clear, concise and easily understood.

    Contact me today to schedule your family law mediation and put my experience as a Board Certified Family Lawyer and CPA to work for you.

    Give us a call at (941)-627-3667

    or email us to schedule your mediation today!

    Is Your Family Law Case Going Nowhere?

    Many people file a divorce or other family law case, only to find out that it takes months to get hearing times or to get a trial to complete their case. The Courts are overburdened by existing cases and simply cannot get to new cases quickly. Waiting to get before a Judge to resolve your family law case can be very frustrating.

    Mediation typically can be scheduled quickly—usually within a couple of weeks of calling the MSW Mediation Center. Once an agreement is reached and the parties have signed the settlement agreement, the Judge usually can finalize the case in a few weeks. Since most of the mediations we conduct result in a settlement, you probably can be complete your case more rapidly by having us help you resolve your case.

    Give us a call at (941)-627-3667

    or email us to schedule your mediation today!

    Reasons to Mediate: Its Private!

    There are many reasons to mediate your family law case. One important reason is that mediation is private. This is critical if your case involves sensitive issues or high profile individuals. Most family law cases that are litigated before a judge (including divorces and custody actions) are held in courtrooms that are open to the public. This means that anyone over the age of 18 can come in the courtroom and watch your case. Although it is rare for disinterested people or strangers come to family law court proceedings, court staff, other attorneys, witnesses and other people waiting for their hearings are likely to be present during your case. "Airing your dirty laundry" in public is embarrassing and may expose you to potential harm. So, keep it private and mediate.

    Give us a call at (941)-627-3667

    or email us to schedule your mediation today!

    Mediation Saves Time

    Most mediators can schedule mediations quickly after being called. During most of the year, parties can schedule a mediation with MSW Mediation Center within a couple of few weeks of calling. In unusual cases a mediation conference will last more than one day, but most will be completed within one day. Once an agreement is reached at mediation, most cases can be finalized within a few weeks.

    If parties elect to litigate their case, it may takes months or even years for their case to be completed. On average, litigated cases take at least six months to complete. Because of backlogs in the Court, it is very difficult to obtain trial time. A case that is successfully mediated can be resolve in a matter of a few weeks.

    Give us a call at (941)-627-3667

    or email us to schedule your mediation today!

    Mediation can facilatate settlement in all types of family law cases.

    In most family law cases, the Court will order the parties to a mediation conference before scheduling a trial or final hearing. Mediation can be used in most types of family law cases, including divorce, paternity, child support, and timesharing cases. Mediation can also, in limited circumstances, be used to resolve issues raised in domestic violence cases, but caution must be taken to ensure that all participants remain safe.

    Since you are likely headed to mediation anyway, call today to schedule your mediation.

    Give us a call at (941)-627-3667

    or email us to schedule your mediation today!

    Benefits of Family Law Mediation

    Mediation is an alternative to litigation and is used to settle family law cases amicably. Mediation has many benefits, including:
    • Mediation offers a more private way to resolve a family law case. Mediations occur in a private setting, not an open forum, like a Courtroom. Unlike statements and communications made in Court, most communications made in mediation are confidential.
    • Mediation often is less expensive than litigating a case. Litigation is very expensive. Numerous studies demonstrate that parties resolving cases at mediation spent less money than those trying their case before a Judge.
    • Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to control the outcome of the case. At mediation, a resolution is only reached with the input and agreement of both parties. At a trial, the parties present their evidence and arguments, but the Judge, alone, decides the outcome.
    • Parties who have resolved their case through mediation are usually more satisfied with the outcome, than those whose resolution was imposed by a Judge.
    • Parties are more likely to adhere to and comply with the terms of a mediated agreement than a Judgment rendered by the trial Court.
    • Mediation agreements are able to address both legal issues and "extra" issues that a trial Court may not consider. A trial Court is bound by the terms of the law. Parties to a mediation agreement are not bound by the law and may agree to anything that is not licit or against public policy. For instance, a trial Court cannot order a contact schedule between a party and a dog. But the parties to a mediation can agree on a dog visitation schedule.

    Additional information regarding mediation and its benefits can be found