Does Divorce Mediation Work?
Before a session starts, 96 percent of divorce mediation participants believe that the process will be completely fruitless. They reason that if negotiation alone could solve their problems, they would not have gone to court in the first place. However, once the session is over, over 70 percent of these participants have resolved most or all of the disputed issues in the case.
Marriage dissolution mediation, which is designed to help parties resolve their disputes regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and other contested issues, is obviously not successful in all cases. As a matter of fact, especially if there are verified allegations of domestic abuse, divorce mediation is not even appropriate in some cases.
But many judges in Lucie County and nearby jurisdictions automatically refer contested divorces to mediation, unless there is a compelling reason not to make such an assignment. This fact, coupled with the success rate, means that mediation is nearly always at least worth a try.
The benefits of this process are summed up in what many practitioners call the “three Cs” of mediation:
- Cost: The financial price of a divorce varies so significantly based on so many factors that it is almost impossible to come up with an “average” cost. But, since it requires less preparation than a trial and may shorten the process, mediation often results in significant cost savings.
- Control: Research indicates that if the parties have more control over the outcome, voluntary compliance is higher. This is especially true if one or more parties have difficulty accepting authority.
- Civility: In most public trials, a court reporter records every word for everyone to see. But mediations are confidential and attended only by the parties and their attorneys.
Another point about civility is that, in nearly all mediations, the parties are separated for nearly the entire process, which helps diminish the emotions involved in most divorce proceedings.
What Happens at Mediation
Before the session, the mediator, who is either court appointed or agreed upon by both parties, reviews the pleadings in the case. If the mediation is voluntary, it is important to use a mediator who practices family law in that county, since others may be unfamiliar with the issues in these cases. Most sessions are scheduled to last a full day, although some are only a half day.
After the attorneys make brief opening statements, each side retires to a separate conference room or other area. The mediator then conveys settlement offers and counter-offers back and forth between the parties, all the while encouraging them to resolve their disputes.
At the end of the session, if the parties have settled all issues, the agreement is finalized before the judge. If there is no agreement, the litigation process resumes as before.
Contact Attorneys Who Are On Your Side
Mediation may hasten a favorable outcome in a divorce. For a free consultation with an aggressive divorce lawyer in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.