FAMILY SUPREME COURT CERTIFIED MEDIATOR DEDICATED TO DISPUTE RESOLUTION

In Florida, family mediation covers the dispute resolution of various family matters.  Mediation is typically required in Family Law cases prior to having the case go before a judge. Family mediations often involve married, separated, divorced, and unmarried people.  In family mediations, the involved parties primarily conduct the negotiations and the decision-making authority rests with the parties instead of allowing a judge to decide.  Often, this is the one opportunity to come to an agreement without going to court.  In family mediation, you are the ultimate judge!

FAMILY MATTERS COVERED BY FAMILY MEDIATION

  • Dissolution of Marriage
  • Property Division
  • Division of Assets and Debts
  • Alimony
  • Shared Parental Responsibility
  • Sole Parental Responsibility
  • Child Support
  • Child Custody/ Time Sharing
  • Child Visitation

ROLE OF FAMILY MEDIATORS

In Florida, family mediators are trained and certified by the Florida Supreme Court.  Although some mediators are in fact attorneys, the role of the family law mediator is NOT to give legal advice.  A family law mediator cannot provide legal advice to the litigant or their attorneys during the mediation process.  Mediators work to create an atmosphere conducive to the resolution of the dispute between parties.  However, the decision to reach a settlement ultimately lies with the involved parties. Both the parties and the mediator play a role in a successful mediation.

All mediators should:

  • Be Neutral
  • Be Impartial
  • Be Ethical
  • Be Non-Bias

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING THE MEDIATION PROCESS

1. Mediation Conference Opening:

  • Mediator makes general introductions, and then discusses the purpose, process, confidentiality, and goals of the mediation.

2. Initial Instructions:

  • Mediations are often emotional and boundaries for behavioral expectations sometimes need to be established. Some mediators set ground rules to keep order in the mediation.

3. Opening Statements:

  • Generally, once the mediator has finished with his or her initial instructions, parties may want to give an opening statement where their needs, frustrations, hurts and regrets can be expressed and heard. If an attorney represents the party, that attorney is generally afforded the opportunity to provide an opening statement.

4. Mediation:

  • The mediation process usually begins in a joint session with the parties, the attorneys, and the mediator present.
  • During the mediation process, the mediator assists the conflicting parties have a conversation to jointly resolve their concerns. While mediators guide the process, mediators do not decide the process. The parties make the decisions and provide solutions to their disputes.
  • Parties are able to confidentially discuss whatever topics concern them at mediation – large or small. Everything said during mediation (unless otherwise provided by law) may not be repeated to anyone other than the other party or party’s attorney.
  • Mediation is completely voluntary and either party can decide to terminate the mediation conference at any time after the mediators opening and initial instructions.

5. Caucusing:

  • Involved parties have the opportunity to caucus, which means separate from the other party into different rooms. Each party is then able to speak to the mediator and/or their attorney without the other party being present. Parties can later be brought back into the same room if agreed upon.

6. Mediated Settlement Agreement:

  • If an agreement is reached, mediators create a written agreement for each party to review and sign.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL MEDIATION

Family mediation, when properly implemented, can work extremely well to resolve family related issues.  Many mediations result in success, but others do not.  When aiming for a successful resolution to the family law issues you may face, there are certain characteristics that help to ensure a successful mediation:

  • Each party enters mediation with an open mind
  • Parties are prepared to openly communicate
  • Parties express unresolved issues that matter to them most
  • Parties actively listen to the concerns of other party
  • Enter mediation with a willingness to compromise
  • Parties are capable of making plans and providing solutions.

When participants in a family mediation are genuinely ready to end a conflict and prepared to cooperate with one another, achieving a successful mediated settlement agreement is likely.

POTENTIAL MEDIATON OUTCOMES

Generally, family mediation will result in four possible outcomes:

  • Mediated Settlement Agreement
  • Partial Mediated Settlement Agreement
  • Impasse (No agreement reached)
  • Agreement to Reconvene at a Later Date

SPEAK WITH A FLORIDA SUPREME COURT CERTIFIED FAMILY MEDIATOR

Let a skilled legal professional from the Atherley Law Firm help you to explore your mediation options today. In addition to representing clients for purposes of mediations, the Atherley Law Firm will also act as the mediator in cases in which it is not representing either party. Our office is located in downtown Orlando, and we are proud to serve clients in Orange County, Osceola County and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (407) 459-7046, contact us online, or schedule your own consultation

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