Florida Divorce Mediation Process
Resolving Family Law Conflicts With Dignity and Respect
When most people think of divorce, they picture courtroom battles filled with tension and negativity. Litigation, the traditional method of divorce resolution, often lives up to that reputation. Fortunately, there is a different way for a couple to dissolve their marriage, a way that gives control and dignity to the parties. That method is mediation.
Gale H. Moore is a Certified Specialist in Family Mediation. She is available to serve as a neutral mediator in your divorce. Built on her experience, our Largo firm is committed to helping Floridians find satisfying and peaceful divorce settlements whenever possible.
How Does Mediation Work?
The first thing to understand about the divorce mediation process is that the mediator does not represent either party. Rather, the mediator is neutral and unbiased, facilitating discussion and making suggestions, all with an eye toward helping the parties reach an agreement. When mediating a divorce, Gale Moore will help you and your spouse understand the other’s position and identify common goals and concerns. By developing a respect for and understanding of the other party’s position, it becomes possible to work through the divorce-related issues of:
- Child custody and child support
- Property division
- Alimony/spousal support
- All other issues that would ordinarily be decided by a judge
Do I Need an Attorney?
It is truly up to you as to whether you want to have your own attorney for mediation. The process itself can work without attorney involvement. After all, you and your spouse will be discussing the issues and getting input from the mediator. However, we often recommend that at the end of the process each party brings the settlement paperwork to his or her own lawyer for review.
What Happens During a Mediation Session?
Whether the parties have their own attorneys or not, the main idea behind mediation is for the parties to work through the problems themselves rather than resort to a judge. Depending on the level of conflict, you and your spouse may be in the same room together, or instead you might be more comfortable in separate rooms. If the latter, mediator Gale Moore will move back and forth communicating with each partner separately.
When Happens at the End of the Process?
If you and your spouse reach an agreement on the issues, then the mediator will draft a document that details the terms of your agreement. Again, we encourage parties to have the document reviewed by independent lawyers. Afterward, the document is filed with the court. The judge reviews it and then enters a judgment officially dissolving the marriage. Once that happens, then the child custody, property division and other arrangements in the agreement go into effect.
If you are not able to reach an agreement, then there are two possibilities. First, we can move to “impasse mediation,” which is essentially for couples who have agreed on the main issues but are being held back by one or two problems. In this situation, Gale Moore will review what has occurred thus far and help you decide whether the progress you made is really worth throwing away over something small. The answer is usually “no,” and then you can move forward.
Second, if there is no other alternative, then you must litigate the case in court.
Contact a Dunedin Alternative Dispute Resolution Lawyer
If you would like to explore the potential benefits of mediation, please call 727-584-2528 for a consultation. You can also contact our Largo, Florida, law firm online.