The Polk County courts who hear family law cases are going to require those involved to try family law mediation before taking a dispute before a judge.
While there are some exceptions to this policy, a Lakeland resident dealing with a family law case should prepare for mediation to be part of the process as the case goes forward.
Although mediations can each be a little different depending on the circumstances, the basic idea is that the parties will meet with a person called a mediator. The mediator typically will have some experience with family law. Prior to the meeting, each party may provide information to the mediator about their respective positions.
Throughout the mediation, she will attempt to talk to both sides in an effort to get them to negotiate an agreement. When doing so, she should not make any decisions herself, but she may give her opinion on possible outcomes were a case to go to court.
It is important to remember that the process is both confidential and voluntary. No one has to agree to anything, and either side may walk away from a mediation at any time.
If a mediation does not result in an agreement, neither side can bring up what was discussed in mediation as evidence in court. This confidentiality allows people the freedom to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases.
While a person need not have an attorney to attend a mediation, it is generally a good idea to have one to advise a person about the legal consequences of entering any agreement.
There are advantages to family law mediation
Most Florida couples who are divorcing will have to go through mediation because courts usually require it. However, there are many advantages to mediation such that the process may leave ex-spouses, and their children, in a better position after a divorce.
Generally, a successful mediation costs less and takes less time than does going to court. It also offers some additional flexibility that court hearing does not, and it can go a long way in getting parents on the same page for the sake of their children.
Mediation also takes critically important family law decisions out of the hands of a judge who might be hard to predict. In other words, people may not get everything they want out of a mediation, but they can walk away feeling that they were in control of the result.