Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular method for resolving disputes involving divorce or custody. You may have heard of mediation but be unsure of what exactly it is or if it is right for your situation.
Florida courts use mediation to help resolve cases without the need for going to court. Mediation can be used for almost any type of legal matter, and it is commonly used in custody and divorce cases.
How mediation works
Mediation is a meeting, or series of meetings, between you and your spouse and/or co-parent and a mediator. The mediator listens and tries to help you find solutions to your problems.
Unlike a judge, a mediator has no power to decide the dispute for you or tell you what to do. They are there as a neutral party.
Why people choose mediation
Mediation has many benefits. It is generally quicker and cheaper than courtroom litigation. It is also confidential, which can be important if you want your situation to remain private.
Mediation does not always work. Custody and divorce disputes often involve a lot of complex emotions, and these can make it difficult for you to communicate with the other party during mediation.
This is understandable. However, you should at least give mediation a try. Find healthy ways to work through your emotions, such as talking with a counselor or seeking the support of friends and family.
When you should avoid mediation
There are times when you should probably avoid mediation. If your relationship with your spouse or co-parent is abusive or in situations involving addiction or untreated mental illness, mediation is less likely to be successful.
Mediation could even be a bad idea if you are in an abusive situation. Sometimes abusers use mediation to inflict further mental or emotional abuse on their victim. You might be better off taking your case into a courtroom and advocating for yourself with the help of an experienced family law attorney.