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.