The decision to divorce is often as emotional as it is difficult. When that time comes, many separating couples now opt to negotiate their divorce agreement out of court, through the process known as ‘mediation’.
What Is Involved in Mediation?
Mediation, which is done with the help of a neutral third party, is a five-stage process that allows both parties to effectively work out their own agreement. In divorces with minimal issues, all five stages may be completed in a short amount of time, but more complex divorces that include property division, alimony, debt allocation, child custody, etc. usually requires several mediation sessions to properly address the matters at hand.
The five stages of mediation:
- Information gathering
Mediation can also be ordered by a judge in order to sort through any number of issues, including parenting plans or time-sharing. Once an agreement has been reached, the two parties return to a judge with the details before beginning divorce proceedings.
Although family law guidelines vary on a state-by-state basis, mediation proceedings allow both parties to reach a mutual agreement that might be outside of the laws that their state provides. Some things, such as giving up the right to receive child support, cannot be legally settled through mediation, but other issues surrounding child custody, the division of property, or alimony, can be decided through mediation.
Mediation is a thorough process, and entering into mediation proceedings allows each party to ask the real questions with respect to their future interests.
Before You Begin Mediation
Some things to consider if you are beginning mediation sessions:
- What are your legal rights?
- What rights are you compromising?
- Do you have a reason to compromise your rights?
- How does your divorce agreement compare to the probable result, had you gone to court?
Enlisting the help of a qualified divorce attorney can be a valuable tool in your mediation. Although the mediator is the hands-on authority in the process, consulting an attorney who understands and supports your mediation can help you understand your rights and opportunities, with respect to your state laws.
In Clearwater, Florida and the other communities in Pinellas County, the attorneys at the Law Firm for Family Law are well-versed in the nuances of mediation proceedings. Our founding attorney, Gary E. Williams, is a certified family law mediator, recognized by the Florida Supreme Court. We specialize in family law, and can provide valuable advice on mediation in the state of Florida.
To discuss your family law issue with one of our attorneys, you are welcome to call us at (727) 531-8737.