The Mediation Process:
Divorce Mediation, a cooperative problem solving process that gives parties an opportunity to mediate decisions affecting their future. In circuit civil mediation, those parties will consist of people who have a dispute usually over money. In family law mediation, couples come to a mediator to deal with their separation or divorce outside of a courtroom setting and is usually less costly both financially and emotionally then litigation. A mediator helps the parties identify the points on which they already agree, then works with those parties to create practical, informed solutions to the others. The mediator will then reduce that agreement to writing in a format that the court will accept. At all times, the mediator remains neutral between the parties. The mediator works with the parties involved in disputes to help them reach mutually acceptable decisions, rather than on focusing on who is “right” or “wrong.” A mediator assists the parties in reaching a mutually satisfactory settlement. Mediation facilitates early and voluntary resolution of issues as opposed to a court imposed judgment; that is the parties decide the outcome in the mediation conference. Mediation touches people in all walks of life ranging from issues such as neighborhood disputes to dissolution of marriage or business disputes. Mediation is voluntary. It continues only for so long as the parties want it to. The mediator has to have a good reason to withdraw. Either party may withdraw from mediation at any time for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all.
Arbitration and Mediation
People often ask “does mediation really work?” In a word, yes. Statistics show that when you compare parties who have mediated their case with parties who go through an adversarial proceeding, the mediating parties are more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results, likely to spend less time and money, and are less likely to go back to court later to fight about something. In fact, mediation is such a successful method of resolving cases that every civil case in the State of Florida is referred by the court to mediation before the court will allow that case to proceed to trial.
The main advantage of mediation is that it keeps the parties in control of their own destiny. That can make all the difference in recovery from either your divorce or civil dispute and moving on with your life. Mediation allows the parties to get through their dispute with less conflict then they would experience in an adversarial court proceeding because mediation is all about working with shared knowledge, which could also translate into keeping more money in your pocket. In every mediation I have ever conducted, I tell the parties that they can achieve a whole lot more justice in mediation then they will ever get in court. By making this statement, I speak from experience. I’ve spent 35+ years as a trial lawyer and truly believe that alternative dispute resolution (mediation) is a far superior method to resolving disputes than proceeding through an adversarial court proceeding.