Mediation is a required step in divorces for Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Hernando County, Orange County, and most other counties in Florida. Mediation is a meeting, at the courthouse or some other location. The following people are the only participants in a divorce mediation:
- Your divorce attorney
- Your spouse
- Your spouse’s divorce attorney
- A neutral mediator
There is no judge. There is no court reporter. There are no bailiffs or other court personnel. Even though divorce mediation is required by the court, everything thing that happens at mediation is confidential. In other words, as long as you show up for mediation, nothing that happens at the meeting can be presented to the judge. The process is completely confidential.
What is a Family Law Mediator?
A mediator is a neutral person, often appointed by the court. They are specifically trained in mediation and certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a family law mediator. Some mediators are licensed attorneys. Some are not attorneys but have masters degrees in counseling.
The Goal of Mediation for Divorce
To produce a negotiated agreement that will bring the divorce to a fast end.
Other than showing up – you have absolutely no obligation to agree or disagree to anything in a mediation session. You can arrive, talk for 5 minutes, and then declare that any agreement is impossible.
Divorce Mediation is an Opportunity – Not a Burden
There is a very good reason why the courts require mediation. The reason – because it works. Far more cases settle at mediation than the ones that do not settle. It is a great opportunity for you to weigh the pros and cons of fighting out your case. On one hand, you may get more money in a final trial. On the other hand, you may spend much more on lawyers, and make yourself emotionally miserable by fighting it out.
The Bottom Line
Mediation is an opportunity to settle your case early in the process. You will save emotional energy and money. Early settlement is better for your children. And most important – an early settlement allows you to move on to your new future life. Your best bet: approach mediation as if it is the most important part of your case. In many instances – it is the most important part.
Certified Divorce Mediator / Attorneys
This website was personally written by Divorce Attorney Howard Iken. As a Supreme Court Certified Mediator and a Florida Divorce Attorney, Mr. Iken is involved with mediation for divorce several times a week. Mediation in Florida divorce cases is very effective. Approximately 90% or more of divorce cases settle at mediation. We are available to represent you in your divorce mediation, or serve as your mediator. Also check out our Divorce Mediation website.
We offer a mediation service for couples that want to settle all issues before the actual divorce is filed. A divorce attorney / mediator will meet with both of you for approximately 3 hours. During this time we will attempt to get an agreement on all issues. If successful, the mediator will draft a Marital Settlement Agreement and present it to both of you to sign. This is an enforceable document and can be presented to the court in a divorce. After the Marital Settlement Agreement is done, you will leave with a description on how to file for divorce yourself.
If one of our attorneys serves as a mediator, we cannot give any in-depth legal advice during the mediation. We also do not represent either party and must be absolutely neutral. Finally, after we serve as a mediator, neither party can hire us as an attorney.
Advantages of Mediation:
- Less Expensive
- Speeds up the entire process
- Less stress
- Clients are more satisfied with the entire process
Average length of a mediation session: 3 Hours