Should I Prepare For Mediation?

If you are going through a divorce in Florida, it is almost certain you will attend mediation at some point. Mediation is often ordered by the court or scheduled by the parties themselves. Mediation allows each party to actively participate in developing the terms of their divorce settlement. The parties will be able to decide key issues on the division of property and debt instead of having a judge make those decisions at trial.

Because mediation provides the parties the best possible opportunity for settlement, it is highly advised that each party prepare for mediation as if they were preparing for a trial. Preparation for mediation should not be discounted.

For parties who are looking to keep the expenses of their divorce as minimal as possible, settling the terms of the divorce in mediation is the best alternative. In the event a settlement cannot be reached at mediation, the parties will incur additional attorney fees and costs, additional hearings, further discovery, and what will most likely be an expensive trial. A trial whose outcome the parties may not like but will be forced to live with.

In order to avoid these costs, each party should effectively prepare for settlement negotiations at mediation. This preparation includes identifying your goals and your position on the ultimate issues in dispute. Ideally you will also have prepared a proposed schedule for child support and alimony, a complete parenting plan prepared to review with the mediator and the soon to be ex spouse, and a suggested list of how the marital assets should be divided.

Once mediation has been scheduled, I meet with my clients well in advance to prepare. I find that clients who are well informed about the process are more relaxed and are fully engaged in the process. You should know what the purpose of mediation is and the likely goals and strategies of the other party. In order for a mediation to be successful it is important that the parties enter into the process in good faith and with a willingness to consider a fair resolution.

The agreement reached at mediation can be detailed and comprehensive or it can merely memorialize the basic elements of the settlement. The mediation agreement should at least sufficiently describe all key elements of the divorce. The last thing you want to do is prepare an agreement that is vague and that can be challenged in court later. Ambiguity can kill the deal.

By being fully prepared for mediation each party provides themselves the best opportunity to reach a full settlement and they can avoid the additional costs and stress of further litigation. If you want more information or need help preparing for your mediation, please call Longwell Lawyers at 407-426-5757 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Categories: Articles, Divorce, Family Law