Benefits Of Mediation In Divorce And Custody In Sarasota
If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute, you may be gearing up for a long battle. Many couples in these situations retain lawyers and prepare for a contentious process involving court dates and legal filings. What you may not know is that some options for resolving your family law matter do not involve going to court and are designed to allow couples more control over the outcome of their divorce and custody case. Mediation is one of the options that provides couples with a safe space to hash out their differences respectfully with a focus on coming to an agreement. Our lead attorney, Matthew Z. Martell, is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator who will work with you before and during divorce or custody mediation to help you make the best possible choices and informed decisions. We understand the mediation process and will ensure that you are ready for mediation. For a consultation, reach out to us today by calling (941) 556-7020 or by contacting us online.
What Is Mediation?
Over the last decade, mediation has become increasingly popular with couples looking to amicably end their marriage or resolve a custody dispute. Mediation is designed to be non-adversarial, which means that its focus is on helping couples come to a peaceful resolution of their family law matter. Mediation is also voluntary, so both sides will need to agree to partake in mediation sessions. The mediator does not take sides, and in many cases, couples select who their mediator will be before they begin the mediation process.
Mediators are ethically obligated to be fair, impartial, and neutral. Indeed, the role of the mediator is to support and encourage couples to come to an agreement. During the mediation sessions, both parties will identify the issues they are looking to resolve and negotiate until an agreement is reached.
It is essential to understand that the parties are in control of the outcome of mediation, not the mediator. While mediators may make recommendations, they have no power to make decisions and cannot force either side to agree to something they are not willing to do. If a resolution is reached, a marital separation agreement will be drafted and reviewed by attorneys for the parties.
Benefits Of Mediation
To be sure, mediation is not for every couple, but for those willing to engage in an honest, non-adversarial dispute resolution, mediation can save time, money, and aggravation. There are some additional benefits of mediation, as well.
More Control Over Process And Outcome
Mediation is different from traditional litigation in that no judge or jury will decide the outcome. Instead, the couples themselves are in control of how their divorce or custody issues are to be resolved. Because the mediator’s role is to assist and support the couples in coming to a resolution, mediation does not involve cross-examination or confrontations like you would see in litigation. Additionally, the parties are under no obligation to agree to mediation. If either side believes the other is not being reasonable, then they may walk away from mediation at any time.
Another benefit to mediation is that it typically takes place behind closed doors, so only you, the mediator, and your spouse will be privy to the negotiation process. There are no witnesses called to testify, and things that are discussed during the negotiation process are strictly confidential. This can be particularly beneficial when dealing with a custody dispute as it prevents children from being thrust into the middle of the fray.
Litigation can be expensive. Lawyers charge hourly rates to go to court, and there may be additional costs if psychologists or forensic accountants are required to testify. It is not uncommon for divorce litigation to costs tens of thousands of dollars. Mediation, on the other hand, is typically significantly less expensive. While the mediator will charge a fee, it is normally less than what lawyers will charge for litigating the matter.
Mediation is different from litigation in that it is not heavy with rules and procedures that you would typically experience in a courtroom. Again, there is no aggressive cross-examination or complicated rules of evidence. Couples are encouraged to bring whatever documents or evidence they would like the mediator to consider. In many cases, there will be an agreement before the mediation begins on the issues that will be discussed. This means that there are no objections, motions, or confusing legal jargon.
Generally, couples that agree to enter into mediation do so to agree on a family law matter civilly. The process of mediation encourages cooperation instead of discord. This typically has the effect of couples maintaining respect for one another and avoiding bitter, petty disagreements. Mediation is designed to be non-adversarial, so both sides are working together to resolve their differences.
While you are not required to have a lawyer during the mediation process, it is strongly recommended that you have a lawyer review any settlement agreement you come to through mediation. Agreements reached in mediation still need to be filed with the court, and an agreement that is unclear or legally deficient may not be approved by the judge. Your lawyer may also help prepare you for mediation and assist you in the negotiation process.
Sarasota Divorce And Custody Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce or custody matter, a lot is riding on the outcome of your case. Having experienced, skilled counsel to guide you through this process is not only recommended but essential. The Sarasota divorce lawyers at Law Offices Of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. know how important your family law case is to you and are here to help you no matter what course you decide to take. We understand the mediation process and will be by your side before, during, and after your mediation sessions. For a consultation, reach out to us today by calling (941) 556-7020 or by contacting us online. We look forward to hearing from you.