The Basics of Divorce Mediation

by | Mar 14, 2013 | Lawyers

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When a couple comes to the realization that their marriage is doomed, either party may retain a divorce lawyer. In situations in which a divorce is uncontested, mediation can help the parties draft a settlement agreement that will be acceptable to the court.  If a divorce is contested and perhaps acrimonious, then mediation will be required by the court. During divorce mediation in Jacksonville, the couple, or perhaps the couple with their respective lawyers meet with a third party who remains neutral and has no vested interest in the issues at all.  The mediator’s goal is to simply facilitate discussions between the parties in an attempt to reach a mutual resolution of their case.

The idea is to meet on neutral ground in an effort to resolve the issues in the divorce through preliminary discussion. The mediator does not attempt to make decisions for the couple.  A mediator simply serves as a facilitator in identifying the issues and proposing solutions.

There are many benefits to using mediation as an option in a divorce case:

* It is less expensive than a trial or a series of hearings.
* Most mediations end up in a settlement agreeable to all.
* Mediation is completely private. No public records are kept of the proceedings.
* Mediation allows for a resolution based on the ideas of the couple, not a resolution mandated by a judge who doesn’t know the couple or their children.
* The parties, you and your spouse, are in control not the court.
* The process helps to settle differences which may result in fewer conflicts in the future.

At the beginning of a case some people are skeptical that mediation will result in a settlement.  When put in a neutral, confidential environment which is what is found during divorce mediation in Jacksonville, and after documents have been exchanges and parties have had time to accept that a divorce is imminent, most parties realize that they are best at deciding their fate rather than a judge.  All that is required for a successful divorce mediation session is for both parties to show up and display a willingness to negotiate and compromise. Even though you and your spouse do not see eye to eye on a certain issue does not mean the effort should not be made. Mediation can be quite a powerful process if all parties are committed to focusing on a resolution.

What is the approach to the process?

Mediators all have developed their own style, so there is nothing pre-set. Most mediations start with a phone call where the mediator will outline what his or her process is. Depending on the method employed by the mediator, some want a lot of detail prior to the first session while others would rather collect the information during the first meeting of the parties.

The mediation session, typically lasting a couple of hours, is held in a conference room where the mediator explains the process and then typically meets with each party individually in order to begin to identify the issues and possible resolutions. Once you understand how the mediator will proceed, and have met individually with the mediator, then both parties are usually brought back together in the same room and the issues are discussed with a view toward finding an equitable middle ground.

Divorce mediation in Jacksonville is a required step by the courts during the divorce process because mediation works.  Parties can sit down with a mediator before filing for divorce, while their divorce case is pending or even after their divorce is finalized in an effort to try to resolve an issue without going back to court. If you need a mediator to mediate any issues in your divorce case, contact Cameron Baker & Associates, P.A.

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