Many divorcing couples in Florida use mediation as a way to reach agreements on the applicable legal issues outside of the court system. The mediation process can promote a more amicable divorce and cut down on the expenses of a long, drawn-out court process.
A mediator is a neutral third party
In Florida, divorce mediation is generally required before a family law judge will finalize a divorce. The process involves a neutral third-party mediator that attempts to facilitate mutual agreements between divorcing spouses. The agreements that are worked out during mediation may be used to create a divorce settlement later on.
The process of mediation is meant to minimize hostility between divorcing spouses and cut down on the amount of time that a divorce will take to be settled. A litigated divorce can take many months to settle as the court is often overburdened with cases. When child custody is a central issue in a divorce, a mediated divorce can be less stressful for the children involved.
Agreements made during mediation are not legally binding
A mediation session can be a lot more relaxed than a court appointment since the stakes are not as high. If a divorcing couple cannot reach an agreement during a mediation session, they can come back on another day.
Once a mediated agreement on property division or child custody is reached, a divorcing couple may decide to finalize that agreement with a court order. However, the agreements that are reached at mediation are not legally binding until a judge signs off on them.