Mediation for a divorce is one method that resolves your divorce while minimizing court appearances. Many times, divorce mediation takes place rather late in the process: after discovery is complete and before trial. While participants in traditional mediation reap many of the benefits of alternative dispute resolution, such as additional control over the outcome, a more civil atmosphere than a courtroom showdown, and an increase in voluntary compliance after the order is signed, the parties have sometimes spent significant financial resources by this point. However, more and more couples are turning to mediation at the beginning of the process instead.
If you would like to learn more about mediation and if it would work in your divorce situation, call a law firm to speak with divorce attorneys. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview.
How it Works
If cost is a particular concern, early mediation may be an option. This process typically takes place after the judge enters temporary orders and before discovery begins. Instead of one session, early mediation may last for two or three sessions.
First, in something that resembles a pretrial conference without the judge, the parties discuss the issues with a neutral third party and narrow them to the greatest extent possible. By reaching prompt agreement on undisputed matters, costs are reduced as the early mediation enters the second phase.
After the issues are narrowed, the parties conduct an abbreviated form of discovery. Instead of formal requests, the parties typically exchange a few relevant documents in the presence of the mediator. At least theoretically, this practice maximizes disclosure and minimizes conflict.
The third stage resembles traditional mediation. The mediator often serves as a facilitator who helps the parties compromise as appropriate to reach an agreed, out-of-court settlement.
Benefits of Early Mediation
Aside from the cost savings, early mediation may represent a more collaborative approach to problem-solving. Instead of solely focusing on themselves, the parties are encouraged to take the bigger picture into account.
Early mediation is distinct from collaborative law, even though the two are similar in some respects. The most significant difference is that early mediation is not an all-or-nothing proposition. If negotiations break down, litigation resumes. In a collaborative law matter, the parties must seek new counsel before litigation can resume.
Early mediation is certainly not advisable for every circumstance. In many situations, the reason the couple is divorcing is that they cannot solve their own problems, so if communication is non-existent, then mediation may not be the best option. If there are special circumstances, like family violence or property fraud, early mediation may also be a poor idea.
Contact a Divorce Attorney
If you have decided to end your marriage, or your spouse has filed for divorce, you need a divorce lawyer Tampa, FL people going through a divorce advocating for you. Call a law firm today to schedule a free consultation with a divorce attorney to find out how they can help. Divorce attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, including child custody, child support, division of property, and more. A legal team will use all available resources to get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case.
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and divorce mediation.