Divorce Process Florida


Parties wishing to resolve their divorce without family litigation can take advantage of family mediation. Divorce mediation can take place before you file in family court or after youve done so in a case where the parties will be representing themselves.

Mediation is less formal than a court proceeding. The process itself is meant to give you control of the outcome. This means that a mediator, regardless of his or her professional background (lawyer, retired judge, etc) cannot make decisions for you nor can they give you legal advice on any issue.

Once the parties have decided to use the mediation process, they simply choose a family mediator, contact the family mediators office for information and to set an appointment to begin the process. Mediation can take place at the mediators office or at any other place that will provide a comfortable and confidential environment for the parties to communicate.

At any time prior to the mediation, the parties may provide information to the mediator regarding the parties and issues. This information can be provided in any form, from a simple letter to longer documents. Even if no information is provided, the mediation can take place since each party will be able to make a presentation of their side at the start of mediation.

Usually at the start of the mediation, the parties and the mediator meet in the same room. The mediator goes through a brief introduction of him or herself, the mediation process, including the confidential aspects of the mediation, and some ground rules to ensure an orderly and courteous session.

In some instances, however, depending on the relationship of the parties at that point or by request of the parties, the mediator may suggest separate introductions. (In relationships in which domestic violence has occurred or there is an injunction, the process will be different, and is not addressed here).

In addition, even when the parties relationship may allow for an entire joint mediation, they may prefer separate meetings with the mediator at some point. A separate meeting of the mediator and one party is known as a caucus. The duration of a caucus is dictated by the negotiations between the parties. But, regardless of how long the mediator spends meeting with one or the other party in caucus, the mediator remains neutral and a long caucus does not mean that the mediator prefers one or the other; its just part of the mediation process generally. Communication between the mediator and one party while in caucus are also subject to confidentiality unless the party meeting with the mediator waives that confidentiality.

Mediation may consist of one session or multiple sessions, depending how complex are the issues between the parties, and the likelihood that further sessions will be productive and may lead to an agreement between the parties. The parties themselves are the ones who decide whether they will continue with additional sessions. When more than one session is necessary, the mediation is simply continued from one day to another date chosen by the parties with the mediator.

Mediation may end in an agreement or an impasse. If a divorce mediation agreement is reached, it is typically typed, reviewed and signed by the parties at the conclusion of the mediation session where the agreement is reached.

If the parties decide that no further negotiations will lead to a mediated divorce agreement, whether on all or some issues, then the mediator declares an impasse. In this instance, there is nothing else for the mediator to do, and the mediation is ended.

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