Florida couples can use mediation to resolve disputes during divorce. Mediation helps you compromise on issues such as property division, child custody, visitation and alimony.
Both spouses must agree to take part in mediation. Reviewing how the process works can help you decide if it makes sense for you.
Guidance from a neutral mediator
A neutral third party facilitates the discussions between the divorcing spouses. The mediator does not make decisions. They assist in communication, provide guidance and help both parties explore potential solutions.
Mediations remain confidential in Florida. If your divorce goes to court, the judge will not admit information you discussed during mediation sessions.
Some Florida counties provide a mediator for your case. You can also select your own mediator and pay the associated expenses.
What to expect during mediation
An initial meeting establishes the ground rules and objectives of the mediation process. The mediator will encourage you and your spouse to express their concerns and priorities during this session.
The goal is to identify specific issues you need to address in the divorce settlement. Examples include the division of assets and debts, child custody arrangements, child support and alimony.
Communication and compromise
Throughout the process, the mediator fosters open and constructive communication between the spouses. They encourage both parties to listen to one another’s perspectives and find common ground.
Once you have identified and discussed relevant issues, the mediator will work with you to come up with possible solutions. This stage involves brainstorming and exploring scenarios to find compromises and ultimately agreements.
The formalized agreement
When both spouses agree on all issues, the mediator helps formalize the agreement in writing. The couple submits this agreement to the court for approval. It becomes an official part of the divorce decree.
The court must review and approve the mediated agreement. The judge makes sure it complies with state laws and serves the best interests of any children involved. Once the court approves the agreement, it becomes legally binding.
Florida has been
using mediation since 1988 and has nearly 6,000 certified mediators. Mediation can be faster and more affordable than going to court for divorce. You have more control over the outcome, which can reduce emotional stress and promote an amicable environment.