How Does Successful Mediation Cut Costs and Give You Control of Your Divorce?
The definition of mediation is a process in which a mediator, that is a trained, neutral third person, works with a couple and their attorneys to create a mutually acceptable agreement termed a marital settlement through a process of cooperation and negotiation.
Saving money and keeping control are two aspects of a divorce case that most couples would like to take advantage of. Today’s high costs for a good attorney and the uncertainty of how a judge will rule on such issues as alimony, distribution of marital assets and liabilities, and the future care and support of minor children are a big concern when contemplating a divorce. Creating a marital settlement from a successful mediation can be a great way to cut attorney costs and decide the issue of alimony and distribution. In states like Florida, distribution of marital assets and liabilities (those assets and liabilities obtained after marriage) will be equitably, not equally distributed. Additionally, when minor children are involved, the parents can write their own parenting plan, which will include the details of parental timesharing. Child support can also be addressed. In essence, a couple can determine the outcome of their divorce rather than have a judge make those decisions for them, which is what happens when a divorce case goes to court. While judges try to be fair, they are human, have good and bad days, and sometimes don’t see things as you do.
Then there is the issue of cost. While there is a cost for mediation, it is nowhere as costly as going to court. First, the rule of cost for the mediation itself is that the cost is divided equally between parties. When a case goes to court, each party will be responsible for their own costs though sometimes a judge will rule one party must pay some of the other party’s attorney’s fees. For example, if one party is well off financially, and the other must struggle to pay legal fees, a judge may order some help, but there is no guarantee this will happen. Secondly, if a marital settlement is not reached at mediation and the case must proceed to court, the attorneys representing the parties will need to be retained for the then proceeding case. There will be legal fees for such things as the attorney’s time, motions, filings, depositions, interrogatories, orders to produce, and the retaining of expert witnesses. The cost of an attorney to take a divorce case from beginning through the outcome of a successful mediation is far less than going to court for the final outcome.
There is another type of cost in addition to added attorney fees. This is the cost of time and a person’s mental health. As Family courts in most states, Florida being one, are backed up with cases, sometimes it can take several months to get to court for a final outcome. Time is often valuable both in dollars and the toll it takes on a person’s emotions and sometimes even their physical health.
It is important to understand that a judge will review the marital settlement, particularly the part pertaining to child support and the parenting plan, before signing the final judgment. Usually, there are no problems as attorneys, and the mediator will advise and help the couple when the final settlement is drawn up to be signed, witnessed, and notarized.
If you live in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough Counties or New York or Washington DC, Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo has been successfully representing clients through their divorce for over a decade. He is proficient in working with clients during mediation, particularly as he is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil Mediator and will gladly answer your questions regarding mediation. Attorney Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturdays, for new clients, from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. You can call his office at (561) 530-4568.