Most residents of the New Port Richey and Tampa area who may be contemplating a divorce have probably heard about the benefits of using mediation to resolve dissolution issues such as property division, child custody and support and spousal support. Unfortunately, many of these same people are skeptical about mediation simply because they have been conditioned to expect the worst in a divorce. A brief overview of mediation cannot solve all problems faced by potential divorcing spouses, but it can provide sufficient illumination to overcome the doubts of most people.
The nature of mediation
Perhaps the single greatest advantage of mediation is that all decisions are made by the two spouses and not by a judge or jury. The second greatest advantage is the use of a trained neutral party – the “mediator” – to guide the discussion of the issues and to suggest potential compromises that can resolve even the stickiest dispute. In every mediation, the parties must sit down with the mediator (and their lawyers, if they wish) and have at least one face-to-face discussion about the issues that must be resolved. The mediator will not take sides by favoring one party’s argument over the other side. Both parties are encourage to express their concerns, and they are assured that they will receive a full hearing without judgment from the mediator.
Mediations are confidential
Everything that is said in a mediation session is confidential. A mediator cannot be called to testify in any court hearing, even if a subpoena is served.
What is a mediation agreement?
If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will reduce it to writing for signature by both parties. The agreement becomes part of the court record, and it can be enforced in court in the event of a breach by one of the parties. Even if the parties can reach only on some issues, this agreement will also be reduced to writing and it becomes a binding contract.
Mediation can save time and money
While many parties ask their attorneys to participate in a mediation, this participation usually demands far less of the lawyer’s time than preparation for a full scale trial. Thus, mediations usually save money for both parties.
Every divorce is different, and each mediation is likewise unique. Anyone who is interested in using mediation should contact an experienced family lawyer for an explanation of the details.