Even in an otherwise amicable and uncomplicated divorce, there are numerous issues that may arise which can be difficult to resolve, delaying you from having your divorce finalized in a timely manner. While a hearing before a judge may seem like the only way to resolve your divorce related disputes, the court may order you and your spouse to attend mediation first. As people often have preconceived ideas about mediation, the following outlines some basic information about the process, as well as the potential advantages it can have in your case.
Issues Subject To Mediation
Under Section 61.183 of the Florida Statutes, mediation can help divorcing couples come to an agreement about contested issues without having to go through a full trial hearing before a judge. While mediation is not required in every divorce proceeding, it may be ordered when there are serious disagreements in regards to the following:
- Issues with parental responsibility, timesharing, and the primary residence for children of the marriage;
- Issues relating to child support and financial responsibility for certain costs and expenses;
- Issues regarding alimony and spousal support;
- Disputes over marital versus nonmarital property and the couple’s assets and liabilities;
- Issues related to marital property division.
Even if a mutual agreement can be reached on any of the above, it is still subject to review by the court. If approved, the mediation agreement will be entered and enforced the same as any other order.
Advantages of Divorce Mediation
It is important to realize that the mediator in your case will not make a decision in the matter, but rather act as an impartial party to assist you and your former spouse in coming to an agreement on contested issues. The Florida Courts advise that, as a form of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is used in a variety of different types of court proceedings, and offers the following benefits:
- It allows you to negotiate flexible agreements that best suit your interests;
- It can help overcome longstanding problems in communicating with your former partner on important issues, which can have a positive impact on future dealings;
- It can save you both the time and costs associated with formal court trials and proceedings;
- It gives you the assurance of being able to agree to certain times, rather than risking what a judge might decide;
- The mediator in your case will not make any kind of ruling, nor are you obligated to accept any agreements you feel are not in your best interests.
Anything discussed in mediation will be kept confidential, although case summaries, mediation notes may be used when presenting the agreement to the court for approval. If you are unable to reach an agreement during mediation, your case will proceed to more formal court proceedings.
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you are going through a separation or are considering filing for divorce, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC today. As experienced Florida divorce attorneys, we can guide you through every step of the process, while representing your best interests during mediation and court proceedings.