What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process during a divorce whereby a neutral third party, known as the “mediator”, helps a divorcing couple negotiate and settle their case without the necessity of going to trial.

The parties and their lawyers meet with the mediator to discuss and try to settle their case. Mediation allows the spouses to reach a binding agreement as to all aspects of their divorce, including, not limited to:

  • The division of property and debts
  • Alimony
  • Timesharing and child custody
  • Child Support

It is the mediators job to keep the lines of communication open, brainstorm ideas, reality test the couple, teach empathy, and assist the couple in their decision making process. A mediator cannot give legal advice or defend one spouse’s position over the other. The mediator is to be neutral and to assist the parties communicate with each other and negotiate the terms of the divorce. Mediators help keep the couple focused on the issues at hand, trying not to get them off track. When divorcing couples get off track and away from the important issues during mediation, arguing, name-calling and bringing up bad prior memories ensues.

The length of mediation depends on what issues have been agreed to by the parties prior to the mediation and the number of issues that need to be addressed during mediation. Many court ordered mediation sessions last 2-3 hours, but parties can make arrangements to speak with a private mediator and have sessions of 4 hours or longer. Parties can agree to come back to a second mediation if significant process is made during a first mediation. Additionally, the amount of time spent in mediation is contingent upon you and your spouse’s willingness to come to agreements that are equitable for the both of you and your willingness to do what is in the best interests of your children.

Over the course of the mediation, the mediator helps identify the issues to be resolved and then works to negotiate and reach an agreement on those issues. The mediation proceedings are confidential, which means that anything said at the mediation cannot be used against you later, should the matter end up in court. This allows both spouses to speak openly during the mediation proceedings.

Mediating your divorce disputes cuts down on your legal costs because the parties avoid the expense of going to trial. Mediation is a voluntary process. This means that if you cannot reach an agreement, you can end the mediation session and let a Judge decide your case at trial.

If an agreement can be reached, the mediator will assist in drafting a Mediated Agreement. Our divorce lawyers will review the final mediation agreement to ensure that it is fair and that it addresses all of the issues that need to be resolved. The Orlando divorce attorneys at Longwell Lawyers, will aggressively represent your interests. We will ensure that the settlement agreement covers all aspects that need to be covered and that none of the terms are unlawful or unenforceable, and that you are not giving up important rights without understanding what you are agreeing to.

Categories: Articles, Divorce, Family Law