Despite it being one of the most recommended means of settling a divorce case, mediation is still an unknown for many divorcing couples in Florida. The belief that every divorce involves prolonged and ugly court battles does not have to be the situation for everyone. In fact, there are a variety of benefits to using mediation that will help many couples resolve their divorce as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Using divorce mediation simply means having an impartial mediator to help the divorcing couple resolve disputes and reach an acceptable agreement on key issues like property division and child custody. The mediator cannot force or impose any agreement like a judge, but they are specially trained to help divorcing couples find some common ground or make acceptable compromises. Just as in a litigated divorce, each party may still make use of specialized professionals like forensic accountants and each can still have their own attorney.
Mediation requires couples to be willing to come to the table and openly discuss topics. The process is likely not the best choice for openly hostile or non-communicative couples or in any situation that involves domestic abuse, but fortunately this does not describe the majority of couples. It is possible that some issues cannot be solved in mediation and must still be litigated, but even mediation that reaches only a partial agreement on some issues is time well spent and money saved.
It is best to consult with a family law attorney to see if divorce mediation is appropriate for a particular case. The attorney can advise a client about what might be resolved through mediation and answer a client's questions about how the process works.
Source: American Bar Association, "Benefits of Mediation in Divorce Cases", Holly Clemente, accessed on March 2, 2015