“Does divorce mediation work?” The answer is yes, it does. As a matter of fact, research is showing that using a divorce mediator helps couples get divorced better, more amicably, and begin to heal faster. Everyone knows that the divorce process isn’t easy. There are so many questions that surround how to start a divorce. In Florida, the divorce laws can be hard to understand on your own.
A divorce mediator is trained in those laws and acts as your neutral third party to help you apply those laws to your specific divorce. Instead of each of you using a family law attorney for divorce, your mediator is someone that you share. The whole purpose of divorce mediation is to help you reach a voluntary, mutual agreement so that you can finalize your divorce faster, on your own terms.
What you can’t change is a marriage that can’t be saved. The change that you can make is how you decide to end the marriage. A divorce mediator is trained to put your divorce into terms that satisfy the court and you. They are trained in Florida divorce laws, conflict resolution strategies, and negotiation skills that can help you get through points that you might be stuck on.
Every divorcing couple with children is required to have a marital settlement agreement (MSA) and a parenting plan. These two documents are handled in divorce mediation and are negotiated with support through your divorce mediator.
Mediation for divorce starts with deciding how you want your divorce to look. You can choose to hire a neutral person to work for you, or you can decide to hire personal divorce attorneys. The latter choice can often create an adversarial dynamic which isn’t conducive to a peaceful outcome. This is the reason Florida judges are in strong favor of the divorce mediation process, because it fosters a better outcome.
The main thing to consider is that no case is too big for mediation. All Florida divorces must normally go through mediation anyway, with or without lawyers. That said, if you decide to start with hiring a private mediator, you have a greater chance of coming to some terms in your agreement, if not all of them.
Once you have decided which option is right for you, you should do some research on who the best fit for your case might be. Not all divorce mediators are the same, but they all should have the same goal for you. And that is to help you resolve your divorce case and help you reach an agreement outside of court. There are two types of mediators, the lawyer mediator and the mental health mediator. All mediators receive THE SAME training and must fulfill the same requirements for certification.
Neither can act in the capacity of their professions during a mediation, but they can provide a different back drop or setting. Many people are mistrustful of lawyers and for that reason they wish to use a divorce mediator with a mental health background. The most important thing is that you both feel comfortable with who you select and is not someone that you have any personal history with.
When you hire someone privately to begin your divorce mediation, you can start your divorce process right away. You do not have to wait for the court to assign you a divorce mediator or give you a date. You can talk to your mediator before your appointment. This establishes rapport and gives you a sense of comfort. The divorce process is an emotional experience and if you can feel safe and supported in any way, it makes the process much smoother.
You can also except to begin sending preliminary information to your mediator before your mediation. Clients who use a private divorce mediator often report that they felt the mediator was truly invested in helping them reach an agreement outside of court. This has not always been the reported experience of clients who use court mediation.
You should expect your divorce mediation to be confidential, time-sensitive, and informative. Even if you do not leave with a complete agreement on all areas, you can and should have a goal to leave with something. That said, be aware that if you and your mediator are not a good fit, or you are not happy with the process, you can choose to stop anytime. Nothing can be used against you and you can always try again another time. On the flip side of that, if you do reach an agreement, you are not legally bound by it until a judge signs off on it.
That means that you still have rights to review it with an attorney, or dispute it at your court date, if you change your mind about something. That is what makes the divorce mediation process work best. People enter mediation with the knowledge that they want the best outcome. They are highly motivated to reach an agreement that works best for everyone.
When you consider that the average divorce with lawyer’s costs over $15,000.00, the divorce mediation route builds a strong case for being a better option to try first. A divorce mediator is a neutral party that is trained in divorce laws, but also specifically trained in conflict negotiation. This is an asset to your divorce case in that you can reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial using a professional invested in helping you do that.
Divorce mediation is an empowering experience for people. It gives them back a little bit of control during a very emotionally draining time in their lives. It is forward focused and not financially exhausting. Call 407-992-6110 to get more information or to book your mediation so you can start moving on with your life.
Heather Oller is a licensed mental health professional with a Masters degree in counseling and psychology. She is an expert therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Counseling & Conflict Resolution and is a Florida certified family court mediator. She is also a qualified Parent Coordinator. She specializes in conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution.Schedule Your Consultation