7 Advantages of Mediating Instead of Going to Court with Your Florida Family Law Matter

If you are going through a divorce, custody battle, or just about any other family law matter, it is important that you handle it properly. Mediation is a litigation tool with many benefits and should always be utilized whether it be a highly contentious matter or one where the parties can resolve issues amicably. Note, that in Florida, families are mandated to mediate in divorce cases.

Maintain Control of the Outcome

When you litigate in court, you present your case and hope that the judge rules in your favor. Whether they do or not, you have to abide by their decisions, at least for a while. In essence, you are giving a third party the ability to make decisions about the most personal aspects of your life. With mediation, on the other hand, you are able to maintain control of the outcome because you can negotiate and work through issues with the other party and the mediator. I always explain to my clients that the results of a mediation may not be your best day in court, but it will most likely not be your worst. So instead of having playing the odds by going to court, you are better off trying to settle at mediation.

Keeping the Costs Down

Litigation is extremely costly, especially if a matter goes to trial. Even if everything goes smoothly, the process is very expensive when you factor in court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses. But mediation in many cases allow the parties to settle the matter prior to spending significant fees on attorney preparation and court costs.

Complete the Process More Quickly

It often takes months to obtain hearing and trial dates due to the volume of cases in the court system. In almost all cases, mediation can be scheduled much sooner and therefore resolve the issues in the case far more quickly than litigation. There is no need to wait for the courts to file paperwork and set court dates. Instead, you work with the mediator and the other party to set a convenient time, and begin working through the issues immediately.

Much Easier on the Kids

Even if the kids never have to set foot in the courtroom, they know when there is serious conflict going on. Rather than fostering conflict, mediation focuses on helping everyone get what they want as much as possible. There is less stress, and less fighting, which all adds up to create an easier environment for the children.

Additional Privacy

Court cases, including family law cases, are a matter of public record. Mediation, is not. In fact, it is a confidential process where the only things that are disclosed are those in which the parties agree the mediator can disclose for purposes of facilitating an agreement (Note: there are a few statutory exceptions to the confidentiality including, but not limited to, reporting child abuse). The process is much less formal and parties typically feel much more comfortable disclosing information and having a constructive conversation due to the level of privacy that is afforded to the family.

Flexibility

When litigating a family law issue, you are required to go through the process as the court’s demand. With mediation, there is flexibility on how you resolve conflict, when meetings occur, how things are divided up, and much more.

Building Strategy

Even if a case is not likely to resolve completely at mediation, many times parties can reach partial agreements and allows to narrow the focus of litigation. The discussion that occur during mediation allows me to understand the other party’s position and the issues that I need to focus on. It allows me to subsequently strategize with clients on how to proceed at trial because we have been exposed to more information than if we had not mediated.

We can Help

While not every case can be resolved through mediation, many can. We have years of experience working as mediators in Florida, and would be happy to put that experience to work for you. Please contact us to go over your options and set up a consultation today.

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