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  • By: Mireya Lacayo, Esq.
  • Published: January 9, 2023
Mediation? What Is That?

What Is Mediation?

mediation is not a court hearing, and Judge’s are not present at mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to sit (either in person or virtually) to discuss the issues surrounding their case. A mediator is a neutral third party. They have no interest in your case, they are simply there to try to help the parties reach a settlement!

A mediator will not say who is right or wrong. They will not take sides. However, a mediator will work with the parties to understand the other side’s perspective. A mediator cannot force you to enter into an agreement.

How Is Mediation Beneficial?

There are numerous benefits to mediation. These benefits play a huge role in family law cases, most of which are settled outside of court. Some of the benefits to mediation are discussed below:

First, the mediator provides a set of skills specifically aimed towards helping you reach a resolution in your dispute. These special skills may help both parties overcome certain obstacles by suggesting certain solutions that neither previously considered. In mediation, your input does matter. You have the power to choose to agree (or disagree) throughout the process. The choice to enter into an agreement is solely in your hands. Although a mediator can make suggestions, a mediator cannot make you agree to anything.

Second, everything shared in mediation is confidential. Prior to mediation beginning, the mediator will reiterate this to you. Mediation is like Vegas, what happens and is discussed in mediation, stays there. This provides a “safe space” to make certain suggestions to try to reach a deal that you wouldn’t otherwise discuss. There are some exceptions to the confidentiality rule such as child abuse, elder/vulnerable adult abuse, and any suggesting of a party intending to commit a crime.

Mediation agreements are enforceable. If a deal is reached, the agreement will be put into writing and signed by the parties. That signed writing is then a contract, and becomes a legally binding document. Should a party not follow the terms of the mediation agreement, they can be held in contempt of court.

Mediation saves parties time and money. In a trial, both sides present evidence and arguments, and a judge decides the outcome of the dispute. A substantial amount of time (and therefore money) must be invested by both sides so that their attorney’s may properly prepare for trial. Mediation will also resolve your case more quickly than a formal trial process, which can include Case Management Conferences, Pre-Trial Conferences, Depositions, Trial Preparations, and more.

Reached an agreement at mediation is your opportunity to have input in the resolution to your case. Presenting your case to the Judge puts the power in the Judge’s hand to make decisions for you and your family. While you may not know what decision the Judge will make at trial, you’ll be bound by that ruling whether you like it or not.

In most family law cases, the Courts will refer parties to mediation prior to any temporary relief hearings. Accordingly, mediation is an extremely important part of your case. If your case is set for mediation, and you need a game plan, contact our office today!

Experienced Florida Family Law Attorney - Mireya Lacayo, Esq.

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