Florida Family Law Mediator

Mediation Myths: My Case Won't Settle at Mediation

Multiple studies have shown that the vast majority of parties who mediate reach an agreement that settles all of the issues raised by their case. Very few cases are tried before a Judge. Only about 15% of all family law cases are tried before Judge. At the MSW Mediation Center, we have mediated many difficult cases. Often attorneys and Judges specifically recommend us as a mediator for highly contested. We have a settlement rate in excess of 90%. Let us help you settle your case. Call today at 941-627-3667 to schedule your mediation today.

The Myths of Mediation: Every Issue Must be Resolved

Many people believe that an agreement must be reached on all of the issues raised by their case. That belief is misguided. At mediation, the parties have considerable flexibility when fashioning a settlement. Of course, the parties can come to an agreement on all of the issues raised by their case. But the parties can also enter into a partial settlement agreement that resolves only the issues for which the parties are in agreement, while leaving the disputed issues for the Court to decide. For instance, in a divorce, it is not uncommon for the parties to settle all of the child related issues (i.e., timesharing, child support, etc.), while leaving the division of marital properties and payment of alimony up to the Judge to decide.

The Myths of Mediation: The Mediator Decides What is Fair

Many people mistakenly think of mediation as an opportunity to plead their case to the mediator, and that the mediator will decide which party is "right" or how the case should be resolved. Mediation is not arbitration or litigation. The Mediator does not have the power to impose a "ruling" or a decision. The Mediator's role is to facilitate a settlement by helping the parties discuss issues and explore possible resolutions. The parties ultimately decide how to resolve their case, not the mediator.

The Myths of Mediation: Mediation is Optional

I often hear people say, "Mediation is optional. I don't have to mediate." However, in most family cases, the Court automatically orders the parties to attend a mediation conference in an effort to compel the parties to discuss settlement possibilities. The time when the parties are ordered to mediation varies from Court to Court. The vast majority of Judges will require the parties to attend at least one mediation conference prior to scheduling a final hearing or trial. While some Judges require the parties to attend mediation prior to setting any hearings, even hearings for temporary child support.

It is true that when a Court orders mediation, it only directs the parties to make an appearance at the mediation conference. The order for mediation does not require the parties to reach a settlement or even to negotiate with each other. Thus, after appearing at the conference, either party can terminate the mediation. So, in that sense mediation is optional, but terminating a mediation upon arrival or quickly thereafter rarely is a logical choice. For instance, most mediators charge a minimum fee that covers several hours of his/her time. If the parties are going to pay for the mediator's time anyway, doesn't it make sense to "stick it out" and try to discuss the issues and maybe reach a settlement? Also since most cases will settle at mediation, it makes sense to give the process a chance to work!