Alternative Divorce Solutions


Proceeding straight to a courtroom to litigate a divorce, which a judge oversees, might seem like the only – and sometimes preferred – dissolution option for an estranged Florida couple. This may be the case when every issue is magnified by distrust and intractable problems. Sometimes, it seems that little is being accomplished through informal communication. Court input and judicial rulings seem like the only avenue to resolve challenges and move forward. This scenario is, in fact, common and plays out routinely across the country. But in the future, a contested case is not the only option.  And, as noted by one family law commentator, having a judge decide on divorce issues can sometimes be “ruinous to the human spirit.” There are alternative divorce solutions.

Often, separating couples are unaware they have alternative divorce solutions when it comes to dissolving their marriage. The common view of a litigated divorce has pervaded the common consciousness and the media landscape. Not only do friends mention battling out their divorce in court, but TV shows and movies portray combative divorces as well. Many adults have experienced the effects of a litigated divorce as children and understand that working together often leads to a better divorce.

Mediation is an Alternative Divorce Solution in Florida

Not every marital split must be marked by so-called “scorched earth” tactics and flat win-or-lose outcomes often featured in adversarial litigation. In a recent article, family law author and psychologist Elizabeth Cohen notes that “there are ways to process your divorce that allow for compassion and care legally.”

Mediation often rises quickly to the top of any list spotlighting those courtroom alternatives. Cohen is a big fan, as are legions of couples who have embraced the process.

One option for individuals interested in avoiding the courtroom is family law mediation. Mediation can be a useful way to sort out custody, alimony, and even property issues. In addition, mediation can be useful for former spouses who need to change their previous agreements. Rather than heading to court to alter a parenting plan as the children grow up, mediation can help parents craft a plan that meets their current and future needs.

What is Family Law Mediation?

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that focuses on the participants. The goal is for the participants to create their own solutions. A mediator can help by providing information and suggestions and ensuring everyone is heard. A neutral mediator cannot offer therapy or legal advice, but they can provide you with other resources.

Mediation is an informal settlement process that allows the parties in a case and their attorneys to resolve temporary and permanent issues. Not only should most people with a contested divorce case try mediation, but many counties in Florida, including Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties, will require the parties to attend mediation before coming in front of the judge to litigate their disputes.

What are the Benefits of Mediation as an Alternative Divorce Solution?

Those who have used mediation to settle their differences appreciate the ability to determine the solutions for their own problems. For many, the alternative is having a judge determine what should be done. While judges are skilled and knowledgeable, they will never know your situation and your family as well as you do. Resolving issues amicably is key for learning how to move on after a divorce.

A mediated divorce process is often positively noted for these and additional reasons:

  • Enhanced opportunity for a couple to build rather than burn all bridges to the future (especially where children are involved)
  • Far greater autonomy over the agenda than exists with a litigated divorce.
  • Potential for everyone to win, in lieu of a zero-sum outcome.
  • Comparatively informal, relaxed, and emotionally toned-down atmosphere.
  • Often a less expensive alternative and with a swifter outcome

Mediation is Confidential

Mediation is confidential. There are no public court documents as there are with any litigation.
Mediators are skilled in dispute resolution and understand how to help individuals communicate. They facilitate the process when necessary; however, the real goal is to have the participants lead the progress. During a mediation, only one mediator is present. Participants can seek outside legal counsel, though no one else can be present during the mediation unless both parties agree.

To learn more, visit why would someone file for a confidentialities order for a divorce.

Mediation is Less Expensive

Generally, mediation is less expensive than taking an issue to court. Not only are parties working together, they are saving money by not engaging in the negative to and fro that litigation can bring out.
Mediation can lead to legally binding documents such as a parenting plan. At the same time, it can also provide individuals with the tools they need to communicate better in the future.

Who Can Alternative Divorce Solutions Help?

Many individuals in dispute may benefit from mediation. In Family Law, mediation can help individuals who feel their voices need to be heard. Both parties must be willing to come to the table to discuss their issues. If one party decides that mediation is inappropriate, an alternative must be selected. Mediation provides a space to negotiate and discuss problems while brainstorming possible solutions. While some issues may be very emotional in nature, the goal of mediation is to provide a safe space to have these conversations and begin to move on.

How Effective Is Family Law Mediation as a Divorce Alternative Solution?

Because agreements are created by the individuals they affect, mediation results are frequently positive. When divorcing spouses or former partners work together to craft an agreement that considers the best interest of both parties, they are more likely to follow that agreement. Mediation agreements are generally viewed as “win-win.”

Contact a Tampa Mediation Lawyer

Mediation is a powerful tool for many couples going through the divorce process. An experienced and empathetic family law attorney with a specialized background in divorce mediation can provide further information.

If you’re wondering whether family law mediation may be a good option for you, contact a Tampa mediation lawyer today. At Quinn Law Firm, we’re committed to providing our clients with options to choose the best course of action. Not only is founder and managing partner Mary Quinn a skilled trial attorney, but she is also a vocal proponent of mediation and collaborative divorce.

Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.