Discover the Benefits of Pre-Litigation Mediation During The Divorce Proceedings
Last month we wrote about collaborative divorce, and when it is right for you and your family. As discussed, collaborative divorce serves as an early intervention in solving divorce-related issues. The collaborative process allows each spouse to retain a collaborative divorce attorney who advises and assists in resolving issues, and provides the opportunity to call upon experts like a neutral mental health professional, financial adviser, or other specialists to ensure all aspects of the marriage is covered while the spouses work collaboratively to reach a solution that is best for the entire family.
At the Law Firm for Family Law, our Clearwater, Florida Board Certified Expert in Marital and Family Law understands that not all couples are able to participate in a collaborative divorce, and instead focus on litigation. This is especially true when a highly contested divorce is underway.
Divorce proceedings do not have to be polarized events, where either the couple can work together or fight it out in court. When collaborative divorce is not the best approach for your marriage dissolution and litigation seems to be the only option, the time consuming and costly nature of the latter can lead to both spouses learning that the time, money, and resources it takes to slug it out in the courtroom may not be the most effective way to resolve their issues. That’s when our Pinellas County mediation lawyer can offer a third option: Pre-litigation mediation.
What Would Pre-Litigation Mediation Mean For My Clearwater, Florida Divorce?
In Clearwater, Florida, pre-litigation mediation is the divorcing couple’s opportunity to avoid going to trial, sidestepping the uncertain ruling of a judge or jury.
Almost all divorce-related issues, including equitable distribution, alimony, child custody, child support may be mediated. Each party is entitled to their own legal representation during the mediation process, although lawyers are not required for the process to take place.
During the pre-litigation mediation process, the mediator is neutral and does not take either spouse’s side during the negotiation process. The mediator may identify issues in the case, but will not make decisions for you, only serving as a facilitator to help you and your spouse discover the benefits of settling your case. It is important to note, however, that neither party can be forced to settle during the process.
Mediation puts you and your spouse in complete control of reaching an uncontested divorce settlement. Spouses can work with a mediator even after motion dates are scheduled or pretrial conferences are pending, and even when trial dates have been set.
What Should I Expect During Pre-Litigation Mediation and How Should I Prepare?
In most cases, pre-litigation mediation usually unfolds during a single-day event.
The largest misconception in pre-litigation mediation is that the spouses will be forced to spend the day together, hashing out the details of their divorce — an idea that can cause great stress and anxiety. In reality, the mediator will keep each spouse in a separate conference room and communicate the offers back and forth between the two.
Chances are if you are at the pre-litigation stage of mediation, you already have a divorce attorney and you have discussed what you expect from the marriage’s dissolution. If you do not have an attorney, it is important to provide the documents and information the mediator will need to review the property division, spousal support, income, and budgets that will be negotiated during the mediation process.
The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.
Remember that the mediator cannot provide you with legal advice, so it is important to remain invested and actively participate in the process, so you are comfortable with making your own decisions. If you do have an attorney, s/he can fully advise you throughout the negotiating process.
Contact Our Experienced Mediation Attorney In Clearwater, Florida For Help
If you have reached a stalemate in your divorce proceedings, and are exhausted by the courtroom process, contact our founding mediation attorney Gary E. Williams at the Law Firm for Family Law today by calling (727) 619-1352 to schedule a confidential consultation. Mr. Williams is a certified family law mediator by the Florida Supreme Court and will provide the experience and solutions you need to move forward with your life confidently.