What Happens in a Divorce Mediation in Miami, Florida?

By Jim Thomas

Peace is to war what mediation is to litigation. When you or your spouse files for divorce in Miami, you have the option of fighting it out in court or working it out in a cooperative fashion. Working it out can save you money and lessen the emotional damage that often results from a contested divorce. Accordingly, the Miami-Dade County courts frequently order mediation before trial to give the parties a chance to come to an agreement they both find satisfactory. If you are required to mediate, or request mediation, the mediation division of the county court system will supply an in-house mediator, although you are free to ask for your own private mediator, pending approval by your spouse.

Peace is to war what mediation is to litigation. When you or your spouse files for divorce in Miami, you have the option of fighting it out in court or working it out in a cooperative fashion. Working it out can save you money and lessen the emotional damage that often results from a contested divorce. Accordingly, the Miami-Dade County courts frequently order mediation before trial to give the parties a chance to come to an agreement they both find satisfactory. If you are required to mediate, or request mediation, the mediation division of the county court system will supply an in-house mediator, although you are free to ask for your own private mediator, pending approval by your spouse.

Role of Mediator

A mediator is a neutral, third-party with no stake in the outcome of the negotiation process. In short, the mediator doesn't care who is "right" or "wrong." He doesn't offer legal advice and has no decision-making power. Instead, the mediator facilitates a discussion between the parties, helping them to discuss the issues on which they disagree in an environment that is confidential and nonjudgmental. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity to come to their own resolution rather than leaving it up to the judge to decide for them.

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Process

Each party is asked to explain their position on different issues and suggest solutions that would be satisfactory. One person speaks and the other listens. The mediator often asks questions to clarify issues. A divorce is fraught with emotions and often parties are angry and upset. The mediator will ask both parties not to interrupt each other and to remain civil. Sometimes the mediator will meet, or "caucus," with one party at a time. The mediator might make suggestions for resolving certain issues in order to help the parties reach common ground.

Issues

Mediation is a relatively informal process; the parties are encouraged to raise any and all issues they believe are important. In a typical divorce mediation, financial issues are discussed, including division of the couple's assets and debts. Spousal support, or alimony, is also a typical subject for negotiation between the parties. When kids are involved, reaching an agreement as to legal and physical custody, child support, co-parenting arrangements, and visitation can spare parents and children a tremendous amount of grief and acrimony after the divorce.

Mediation Agreements

If the parties are able to resolve their differences in mediation, the mediator writes up the agreement, covering all aspects of the divorce. The parties review the agreement to ensure it reflects their intentions and then sign it. While a court may order mediation, you are not forced to reach a mediated agreement. If the parties cannot resolve their differences, they go to trial.

Finalizing the Divorce

If an agreement is reached, both parties must review the agreement within the time prescribed by the court. If there are no objections, it becomes binding. At your scheduled court hearing, you present the agreement to the judge who reviews it. He may ask about specific provisions of the agreement to clarify the language. When the judge approves the agreement, he grants your divorce and the agreement becomes part of the divorce decree.

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Divorce Mediation Questions

References

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What if My Husband Refuses to Mediate the Divorce in Texas?

Divorcing spouses in Texas are encouraged to use mediation as a means of settling their disputes. However, state law does not require spouses to mediate unless a judge orders them to do so. In an effort to facilitate settlement of contested divorces, may counties have established local rules that require mediation before the final hearing. The consequences, if any, for refusing to mediate depend on the type of divorce and local rules of the county where the case has been filed.

Divorce Through a Mediator

Divorcing couples can tie up their case in court for many months, arguing about every detail. Meanwhile, their divorce attorneys are charging the couple thousands of dollars in fees, and the parties lose control over how their divorce proceeds. Couples looking for alternatives to this unpleasant scenario might consider mediation. It's often a cheaper, quicker and easier way to get divorced.

Does a Divorce Mediator Do Separations?

Divorce mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution; couples who choose to participate can sort out their family problems without going to court. In mediation, the parties control which issues they discuss. If a couple prefers to discuss a separation, rather than divorce, a divorce mediator can provide them with the appropriate mediation services.

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