Mediation is a part of almost every case in family law. Whether you are involved in a divorce, a modification of child support, alimony, or timesharing, or a paternity case, you are likely going to participate in mediation. You may have heard about it but may not know exactly what it is. Mediation is a confidential process, which means that it’s kind of like Las Vegas. What happens in mediation stays in mediation unless an agreement is reached, in which case it will be reduced to writing and filed with the Court. The mediator does not report anything that is said to the Court. At the end of mediation, the mediator only files a report with the court indicating who attended (parties and attorneys) and that (1) an agreement was reached or (2) the mediation has reached an impasse (the parties were unable to reach an agreement) or (3) that the mediation was adjourned, which means that they decided to come back another day to try further mediation. The mediator is a neutral third party who is there to help the parties reach an agreement. He or she is not a judge and has no power to make decisions or order the parties to do anything.
Parties can attend mediation without attorneys but it is better practice for them both to have counsel since the mediator, who is usually a family law attorney, cannot give legal advice to either party. Mediation is very effective and the vast majority of cases are resolved in mediation. In fact, the Court requires that most matters are mediated before a hearing can be scheduled. This does not prevent attorneys from negotiating on behalf of their clients prior to setting mediation.
There are several different options for scheduling mediation. First, parties whose combined gross incomes
The second option is private mediation. Private mediators are almost all current or former Florida-licensed family law attorneys. They generally charge between $250 and $350 per hour though rates can vary. Mediation can be set for a half-day or a full day. The full day mediations can go until the case is resolved and sometimes long mediations are necessary in difficult cases. The issues that seemed really important at 9:00 in the morning are no longer so important at 5:00 at night.
The third option and one that is a hidden gem
Whatever mediation program you choose, it puts you in control of the outcome of your case. Any judge will tell you that this is far preferable to having someone in a black robe who has never met you make decisions that will affect the rest of your life.