Mediation allows opposing sides to come together, along with their attorneys and a certified mediator, to create an independent and tailored resolution and bring closure to a disagreement. Courts may mandate mediation before the case is heard by a judge. In most cases, mediation is less expensive than traditional court and can speed the legal process along since the number of court appearances may be reduced.
Once the mediation process begins, remain engaged. This is an investment in your future. Remain respectful and leave the anger outside. Answer questions honestly and to the best of your availability. Do not exaggerate. Finger pointing and “right-and-wrong” will not be permissible. Abide to the ground rules set forth by the mediator. Mediation communications, particularly pursuant to Florida Statutes 44 are confidential and cannot be introduced into court proceedings without the express consent of all parties.
Having an experienced mediation attorney by your side is a good idea. They have first-hand knowledge of how the process works and what should occur in addition to providing legal guidance and advice.
A mediator plays a neutral role in the mediation process and seeks a mutual benefit resolution. Be prepared to make concessions on some issues but take the emotion out of the reasons you are standing firm on others. Prepare a list that includes non-negotiable, “I can live with that” and the minimum you will accept before going to court for resolution.
During the mediation an experienced mediator will ask creative questions to attempt to get the parties to understand their true positions, risks and alternatives. Questions may be repeated or worded differently. Have patience. In addition, try to understand how the other person is feeling. You have seen how they behave but behavior does not always reflect true feelings. Perhaps they are truly hurting where you thought they were just being a jerk.
Once a resolution has been reached, the meditator will prepare documents to be signed and submitted to the judge. Commit yourself to keep your responsibilities of the agreement to prevent future returns to the courtroom.
Not only is Ronald A. Luzim an experienced practicing attorney since 1974, he also is a state certified family and circuit court civil mediator for over 25 years. He brings an integrative and holistic approach to help his clients take full advantage of the family laws to protect their rights and interests. Please contact his Coral Springs office at 954-755-1500 for your family law needs.