Divorce Mediation In Tampa
In divorce cases throughout Florida, judges expect trial to be the last resort. Parties and their lawyers are expected to make every effort to work through disputes and arrive at a fair custody, visitation and property settlement through negotiations. More and more, divorcing spouses are turning to mediation for alternative dispute resolution.
The Mediation Process
Mediation is a process that allows both parties to be represented by an attorney. The parties meet with a professional mediator to discuss issues that are under dispute. The mediator will explain the law and the way their local judge is likely to decide if the case were to proceed to trial. The parties then meet separately with their legal counsel and propose a settlement. Sessions typically last anywhere from two to four hours and several sessions may be required over several weeks to come up with a proposed settlement. The final proposed settlement is then presented to the presiding judge for review and adjudication. After the judge’s ruling, the proposed settlement becomes a binding judgment.
What Issues Can Be Mediated?
Any disputed issue is open to negotiation through mediation, including:
- Custody mediation
- Voluntary additional child support payments
- Alimony, spousal maintenance
- Equitable distribution of property and debt
Are Parties Locked In?
Either party, at any point in the process, may decide to withdraw from mediation and negotiate a settlement without the assistance of a mediator, or take the dispute before a bench trial, where the arguments are presented to a single judge to decide.
Do You Need A Lawyer?
Since the final settlement will be reviewed and accepted by a judge as a final court judgment, it is always advisable to make sure your rights are protected throughout the negotiations.
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If you think that mediation sounds like the right option for you in your divorce in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County and communities throughout the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa, Brandon, Wesley Chapel and Plant City, Florida, call me, attorney Michael Celso Gonzalez, at Mike G Law in Tampa. I offer a free consultation to explain the process and discuss how I can represent you throughout the mediation sessions. My phone number is 813-221-4303 or contact my office by email.