Once the decision has been made to get divorced, there can be an uncomfortable moment of realization, where you might be wondering “What’s next?” Oftentimes, and in all situations where children are involved, the answer is mediation. Every state addresses divorce differently, but in Florida specifically, the state wants parents to work together toward a resolution. So, in many cases, the state requires mediation as the first step of divorce.
Mediation is a closed, confidential proceeding that is conducted by a professional mediator. While every divorce is unique in its own ways, going into mediation, there are typically a few common goals.
1. Find Middle Ground
Mediation should be a collaborative effort where all parties are working toward the same common goals. Establishing middle ground means that both parties will be responsible for compromising, which can sometimes be uncomfortable, but still necessary. However challenging compromise may seem, it’s important to remember that mediation is always preferred; otherwise, you risk leaving the terms of your divorce up to a judge—a stranger.
2. Address Everyone’s Needs
The mediator’s job is to keep everyone talking and continue the negotiations moving forward. Often this is accomplished by keeping the spouses in separate rooms during mediation, allowing the mediator to act as a literal go-between between the parties and their lawyers, and preventing potential quarrels and hostilities. Childrens’ needs are especially important to consider during this process and are typically prioritized as the most critical challenge to solve first.
3. Help The Parties Find Their Own Resolution
Mediation is all about creative problem-solving. Skilled mediators are able to guide amicable conversations, promote mutual understanding, and help both parties and their respective attorneys focus on collaboration in a way that values a mutually beneficial resolution and allows them to reach a voluntary agreement.
4. Establish a Legally Sound Written Agreement
The ultimate goal of mediation is to land on a written agreement that details the terms of the divorce. If mediation has been successful, this agreement will address all of the previous goals: it will find a middle ground; it will meet everyone’s needs; and it will reflect the interests of both parties as determined by their own terms. With the agreement in hand, in most cases, the divorce is ready to be finalized by a judge, with the only exception being the terms of child support (if applicable), which will be a separate process.
Mediation is often the best way to resolve a divorce because it leverages support from a third-party and helps everyone decide on an agreement together.
If you have questions about divorce, mediation or other aspects of family law, the experienced team at Hudson Family Law is here to help. Call us any time: 561-472-0805.