Is Divorce Mediation A Good Idea In Florida?
Immediately prior to mediation, most participants feel that the process will be a waste of time. If talking could have solved the problem, they reason, no family law case would have been filed in the first place.
But in voluntary mediation cases, roughly 75 percent of these individuals resolve most or all of their issues. According to the Department of Justice, mediation and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) helped speed cases through the system and saved tens of millions of dollars in legal fees.
One of the reasons family law mediation works so well in Port St. Lucie is that the third-party mediation is almost always either a practicing family law attorney or a retired family law judge. These individuals are very familiar with the emotional and financial issues which are unique to these cases. Plus, experienced mediations know how to get people talking and how to gently twist arms when necessary.
What To Expect in a Florida Divorce Mediation
The exact procedure varies by county and even among different mediators in the same county. But all of them follow the same basic roadmap.
It’s a good idea for the mediator to know something about the case before the session. Otherwise, the process is not as efficient. At the same time, it’s very important that the mediator not feel the least bit of sympathy for either side. So, most mediators take a quick look at the pleadings but do no further investigation.
At the joint opening session, each attorney usually gives a very brief opening statement. Then, the parties retire to separate rooms. The mediator goes back and forth between the parties, conveying offers and counteroffers. If the parties reach an agreement by the end of the session, they put it in writing. If there’s no agreement, the case continues toward trial.
Why Mediation Works in Port St. Lucie
Mediation is not always effective. In fact, it may not even be worth trying in some cases. But Florida mediation is successful in most cases, largely because of the three Cs.
The first one, cost, was mentioned earlier. Mediation requires much less preparation time than trial. Furthermore, mediation sessions typically last a day at the most. A complex family law trial could require several days or even several weeks.
In addition to legal fees, there are some indirect cost savings as well. An earlier resolution means no more lost time at work. It also means less stress, so the parties can focus better on the job and be more productive.
Civility is important in Port St. Lucie as well, especially if the divorcing couple has minor children. Family law trials are public, so everyone can learn about a family’s dirty secrets. But mediation is private. No one else learns about the details, and that usually dials down the emotion a notch or two.
Mediation’s structure also preserves civility. Since the parties are in the same room for only a few minutes, there is little emotional drama. Instead, litigants and lawyers focus on the task at hand, which is working out the issues in the case.
This added control often pays significant dividends in Florida. If the litigants feel like they played an active role in the settlement, voluntary compliance is usually higher. On a related note, mediation is often empowering. If the parties work things out among themselves once, they can probably do it again.
Count On Assertive Lawyers
Divorce mediation has a number of benefits and few downsides. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle cases all along the Treasure Coast.