Mediation is a great way to resolve a pending legal battle, especially when this legal battle is a family matter, such as dissolution of marriage, a timesharing dispute, or fight over parental responsibility. Litigation can turn into a lengthy process that is both emotionally and financially draining. At the Thomas McDonald Law Firm, we always encourage our clients to consider mediation. Not only can it resolve pending issues between the parties, but it is both an efficient and productive way to communicate. Mediators are great third-party neutrals that can use their strong communication skills to explain legal issues and long-term ramification to the parties.
At some point in a family law proceeding, the parties may request, or the Court may order mediation. Mediation allows parties, with the help of a mediator, to come to an agreement on contested issues. Importantly, a mediator can help you and the other party listen to each other and keep you focused. A mediator is there to help both sides communicate and explore possible solutions. If you and the other party get stuck, the mediator can sometimes help restart the conversation in a new way and help everyone take another step forward.
We recommend the use of a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator. Mediators are bound by certain rules and statutes, such as:
- Mediators must remain neutral and not have bias towards another party.
- Mediators should never force either party into an agreement.
- Mediators should always work for the mutual interest of both parties.
The cost of mediation is based on Florida Statutes, and provided at a reduced rate for parties with a combined annual income under $100,000. If the combined income of the parties is $100,000 or more, they must select a private mediator and pay an agreed upon fee directly to the mediator. Private mediators range between $250-$500 per hour, mainly based upon experience, knowledge, skill-set, and overall time in the industry.
Mediation opens lines of communication and allows parties to explore all settlement options in order to resolve disputes. Everything said during mediation is confidential and may not be repeated to anyone other than the other party and/or the party’s attorney. Mediation gives parties more control over the outcome of their case, normally allows the case to be resolved sooner, and can save on the overall expense involved in the case.
If your mediation results in an impasse, the parties can try to mediate again or eventually go to trial if they are unable to reach a resolution. However, the benefit of mediation is that if the parties resolve the dispute, they are not gambling on what the judge might decide. In a trial, the final decision will be made by the judge. It is uncertain what decision will be made at trial, but you will be bound by that decision whether you agree with or like the outcome of the trial. At mediation, the parties make the decisions, and the power is in their hands.
If you have questions about exploring mediation, the Thomas McDonald Law Firm can help guide you.