Is Mediation Mandatory in Florida Divorces?
Many people think that before a divorce case is finalized, they must first go through a bitter courtroom battle. Fortunately, this does not always have to be the case. It is possible to remain amicable with your spouse and resolve disputes pertaining to child custody, property division, and more.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that will allow you to reach an agreement with your spouse and avoid litigation altogether. Many states throughout the country make mediation mandatory for divorcing couples in an effort to clear up the backlog of the courts. Florida does not place such a requirement on divorce cases, except in some counties, but many people still find it is the right choice for them.
What is Mediation?
It is a common misconception that mediation stops divorce proceedings so the couple has a chance to reconcile. This is not true. Mediation only provides another way for couples to resolve their disputes and reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce.
When a couple enters into mediation, they will meet with a third party mediator that remains neutral on the issues. Mediators do not provide legal advice, but they are trained in conflict resolution methods. The mediator’s main job is to foster communication and compromise between the different parties so they can reach an agreement.
Each spouse typically has the option of whether their attorney is present during mediation meetings. Even when a spouse chooses not to have their attorney present, they should work with a lawyer that can advise on what was said during mediation, and ensure their rights are protected.
The Benefits of Mediation
Although mediation is not a requirement in Florida divorces, it does hold many benefits for couples that choose to go through it. Mediation is typically much quicker than going through a divorce trial. Litigation is very time-consuming, largely because the courts are notoriously backlogged. As such, a litigated divorce can take several months, if not years. Mediation, on the other hand, will usually take just a few weeks, although it may take a couple of months.
Mediation also provides a more affordable way for couples to get divorced. Litigation requires many different costs and expenses that are not a part of mediation, such as court fees. Mediation is also more affordable because it does not require the same amount of time as litigation.
The biggest benefit mediation will bring a couple is the fact that it gives them complete control over the decisions made. During litigation, a judge will make all the decisions on the case and those decisions are final, regardless of how one or both parties feel about it. Mediation allows the couple to reach a mutually acceptable agreement so both sides are protected.
Call Our Experienced Family Lawyers in Florida Today
If you are getting a divorce, our Tampa family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. can advise on your case, regardless of the type of divorce you choose. Our seasoned attorneys can negotiate effectively with the other side to help you secure the best terms possible. We work tirelessly to fight for your rights and will always ensure they are upheld. Call us today at 813-672-1900 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.