What is mediation?
Litigation, which is to settle in a court of law, is always an option for Family Law cases. It is often beneficial, but can be expensive or not necessary in particular cases. In cases pertaining to divorce, child custody, child support modification or other family disputes, mediation may be an alternative to litigation. Mediation is when a mediator, who is an unbiased third party, is present to help spouses work towards a legally binding agreement.
In some cases, mediation may be court-ordered and protected under Florida’s Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act. This means it will be completely confidential, unlike public courtroom hearings. Once signed by both parties, the attorneys and a judge, the agreement becomes legally binding and enforceable.
Why should I consider mediation?
Family law clients tend to gravitate towards mediation because both parties have enough time to discuss all issues in depth. This leads to having an amicable agreement at the end of the relationship. It is often helpful to meditate with someone to learn more about the other side’s perspectives and closely examine the things that are most important to each party as well as each side’s perspective.
Most importantly, mediation is very beneficial in cases involving children. Litigation can sometimes become argumentative between the former spouses. Mediation, on the other hand, as a quick and cooperative process can have less of a toll on a child. It can also be beneficial when beginning a new co-parenting relationship.
Like all things, there are a couple disadvantages to using mediation. One to keep in mind is the potential of loss of rights. Some individuals choose to attend mediation without an attorney and in doing so may, legally speaking, agree to an unfair agreement with another spouse. A mediator cannot legally advise couples during mediation, that is the responsibility of an attorney. It is in both parties’ best interest to have an attorney present with them during mediation so that each spouse can agree to solutions while knowing that the law would also otherwise support them.
If you live in Leon County you are under the jurisdiction of Florida’s Second Judicial Court. Family mediation, referred to as ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) is available to qualified parties. Your combined gross income between you and your spouse must be less than $100,000 to qualify for public ADR. If you qualify, the cost per hour will be dependent on the total income shared between the two spouses. Call Liebenhaut Law today for a consultation with a Tallahassee divorce lawyer.