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Florida divorce Mediation questions of the week


Your Coral Gables divorce attorneys provide you with answers to the questions of the week about mediation in Florida divorce cases: 

In all Miami divorces, and in divorces in several other counties throughout Florida, mediation is court ordered. Divorcing spouses in Miami-Dade must at least make an attempt to settle their differences in mediation before they are allowed to proceed to court to litigate the divorce. By ordering mediation, the court is hoping that the parties will be able to resolve their differences in a less adversarial way. During mediation, parties are able to come up with their own agreement and if they are able to settle, it will allow them to save a great deal of time and money.

Some people assume that litigation is the best option for a divorce, but in many cases mediation will actually be more beneficial to the parties. The ability of mediation to help parties resolve their dispute may be undervalued because people assume that fighting in litigation yields better results, which in fact is not always the case, or because people may not fully understand the process. In order to address this second possibility, here are some facts about a Miami divorce mediation:

How is mediation helpful to a divorcing couple?

Mediation works for many Miami divorcing couples. As long as both spouses are able to speak up for what's important to them and can behave themselves appropriately in mediation, the process can work for them. On the other hand, mediation may not offer enough protection and structure for some couples. For example, couples with domestic violence or substance abuse issues may need to have lawyers speak for them instead of trying to negotiate directly. In addition, some spouses may prefer to assume the risks and cost of adversarial litigation in order to make a point or assert a legal right rather than compromise in a settlement.

In mediation, who decides what is fair?

Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a Miami-Dade certified mediator has no power to make decisions for the divorcing spouses. The mediator's job is to help the spouses negotiate an agreement that each of them considers fair enough to accept.

Does mediation create a power imbalance between the spouses?

A good mediator pays close attention to the power balance between the spouses and uses specific techniques to address any imbalance. If one spouse persists in dominating behavior, the mediator will call a stop to the mediation rather than allowing it to continue. One caveat: Even the best mediator can be unaware of a power imbalance if it only goes on outside of the mediation sessions and the spouses don't let the mediator know about it.

Are women at a disadvantage in Miami-Dade mediation?

Women are no more at a disadvantage in mediation than in Florida divorce court. In fact, women can often obtain a better result in mediation than they can in court, because the mediation process allows separating spouses to negotiate an agreement that considers non-legal factors. 

Whenever possible, the family law attorneys recommend that you take the collaborative approach to your family law issues and choose mediation. In the end you will save time and money, and by taking this route you may also be able to avoid a great amount of negative emotion that is associated with litigation. Attorney Lisa Marie Vari is a Florida Supreme Court certified Family Law Mediator who has the skills necessary to assist you in what can be a delicate stage of life. Should the collaborative approach or mediation be impossible for your situation, our attorney roster includes a litigator with close to twenty years of experience. Contact your Miami divorce attorneys at Vari Law to set up a consultation today.

Source: Divorce Mediation Myths

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