Mediation is a process by which a neutral third-party hears each parties’ side and facilitates the parties reaching an agreement. In any proceeding in which the issues of parental responsibility, primary residence, access to, visitation with, or support of a child are contested, the Court may refer the parties to mediation. The benefit to mediation is that each party may speak candidly and avoid large costs associated with litigation.
Remember, you can always go to court and have no control over your future.
If you do not settle your case, if you do not resolve issues (either by mediation or simply negotiating), someone will have to decide for you. That someone is the Judge.
The statistics show that those who enter into an agreement are more likely to abide by that agreement than if the court enters into an agreement for you.
There are few circumstances where mediation can not easily resolve disputes. It is understandable, for example, that if a parent is relocating with the child, the non-relocating parent will not easily negotiate a settlement if they do not want their child to leave the area. This is an area of family law known for fewer settlements because of the nature of the issue.
However, almost every issue can and should be resolved at mediation.
Hollywood Mediation Lawyer
How it works:
- A mediator is selected (either by agreement of both parties or by the Court).
- The parties go to the mediator’s office (or the mediator goes to an agreed upon location).
- The mediator will introduce him- or herself, including their experience as a divorce or Hollywood Mediation Lawyer and mediation experience.
- The basic rules and procedures of mediation will be explained.
Parties Present Positions:
- The mediator will select one of the parties to begin with.
Note: it does not matter which party goes first. It does not matter how long the mediator spends with either side. What is important is that the mediator is fully familiar with the issues, details and information regarding the case, and can proceed to evaluate how to approach bringing the parties together to agreement.
- Each party will have the opportunity to present their respective position to the mediator.
- The mediator will then discuss one of the parties what the mediator is authorized to discuss with the other side.
Negotiation and Caucus:
A caucus is a private meeting with one side present. The other side is usually in another room. This allows for open and candid discussion with the mediator. If the mediator is fully aware of the concerns, problems, fears and priorities of both sides, the mediator will have better tools to utilize in facilitating resolution.
- As the mediator is able to resolve issues, a writing setting forth the agreement is prepared.
- A mediation settlement agreement can be as simple as a bullet point agreement, a calendar colored in depicting when Mom or Dad has timesharing, or as complex as a detailed financial analysis of the assets and liabilities prepared by a forensic accountant.
Note: no matter how simple or complex your agreement may be, always remember to be wary of the details.
- Without a written agreement, signed by the mediator, and if attorneys are involved, signed by the attorneys, there is no settlement. There is no oral settlement if there is a mediator facilitating mediation since Florida law specifically governs what the mediator can do and requires a written mediation agreement.
- Better to settle one issue than none.
- Some cases involve numerous issues. This author recommends settlement of at least one issue, if that is all you are able to settle. It would be a rare circumstance where it would be better to walk away from mediation without resolving basic issues.