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What happens during child custody mediation?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2020 | Child Custody |

In Florida child custody disputes, mediation could be a term that divorced spouses encounter. Mediation refers to settling legal matters with an unbiased third party. Mediation has many benefits, such as coming to an agreement without court fines or taking up time. If a spouse gets a mediation request, here are some things for them to consider.

Considerations before agreeing to mediation

When an ex-spouse receives a meditation request, they have a right to decline unless it has been court-ordered. They should consider the relationship with the ex-spouse. If the relationship has a history of abuse or power imbalance, mediation may not be logical.

Responses to mediation

After a spouse decides what to do, they should send a written response to the other party. The written response will let the judge know whether are a willing participant. If the ex-spouse chooses to decline, they need a valid reason in order to not be viewed as uncooperative.

Impact of refusing to participate

Under court-ordered mediation, the ex-spouse must attend one meeting to ensure the court that they are willing to reach an agreement. Not attending this meeting may result in the judge issuing a contempt of court against them. Refusal to participate could also work against them. However, if the mediation is not court-ordered, it doesn’t usually have negative consequences.

What to expect

Mediation sessions commonly last from two to three hours. The meetings begin with the mediator introducing themselves and explaining the role they play. They will usually discuss key issues and ask the other parties some questions about themselves and the reason for the requested mediation. Each party gets a chance to give their side of the story.

Mediation can usually solve problems without legal assistance if things remain peaceful. However, an attorney with experience in dispute resolution options like mediation, collaborative law and litigation may act as mediator.


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