We’ve all seen courtroom dramas where divorcing couples appear in front of a judge, each with their own attorney by their side, grappling about disagreements relating to child support, property division, and other issues involved in the divorce.
Fortunately, real life is far from the hostile, sensational melodramas we seen on TV. In fact, many couples are able to work out such issues through a process known as mediation.
What is mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method to resolving family law matters. In fact, as a way to encourage divorcing parties to negotiate and work together, it’s a required process in some counties in the state of Florida.
Rather than heading to court to fight about matters in front of a judge, couples resolve their family law matters outside of court in an informal setting with the assistance of a neutral, third-party mediator. The mediator facilitates the process, helping the parties negotiate and come to an agreement on various matters. In many cases, an attorney is present to represent each party, offering advocacy and guidance during the entire process.
Benefits of mediation
Mediation is beneficial for a wide variety of reasons.
First, it allows parties seeking a divorce to have a say in the ultimate decisions about their children, property, etc. Through litigation, a judge–who often knows next-to-nothing about a couple’s situation or what is best for their circumstances–decides most matters.
Second, mediation often helps parents–who will have to work with one another regarding custody matters in the years to come–with conflict resolution techniques in order to help mitigate negative effect on the children involved.
Lastly, mediation tends to be more cost-effective and often less time-consuming than traditional litigation.
Mediation and how it will apply to you
Every situation is different. Some divorcing couples are child-free and do not have much marital property to divide. For others, the situation is more hostile and parental time-sharing is a contentious matter.
Regardless of the scenario, couples from all walks of life in all different situations have utilized mediation to resolve their family law issues. How mediation will work for you, how long it will take and the outcome will depend on your situation. Reaching out to a family law attorney to learn more about the process and what you can expect is advised.