A common question that we are asked by our clients is “Why do I have to attend mediation”? Well, there are two (2) reasons; first, in most Florida jurisdictions it is a requirement to attend mediation prior to litigation, and second, most cases really do settle in mediation.
Although most people believe that they cannot settle their domestic issues in mediation, it truly does work. There is something about the informal setting with a unbiased facilitator (mediator) that helps parties work through their need to be heard on issue that may not be relevant for court or a judge. Further, you have all of the decision making power as the parties in a mediation instead of relinquishing that power to a judge who really does not know your family and what would work best for them. In a litigation or a trial setting, you are only as good as your testimony and the evidence in court; in mediation, you can agree to resolve your issues anyway you and your opposing side deem fit (within reason and as long as it is legal). Some meditations take as little as two (2) hours, and some take as much as several full day sessions; however, at the end if you can reach an agreement you will be relieved that the unknown is over. There are only four (4) potential outcomes of a mediation: complete resolution, complete impasse, continuation (not enough time) or partial agreement. In some jurisdictions, mediation is required before a temporary motion can be heard. The attorneys at Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, will guide you through this process, so you will be prepared and ready to mediate and negotiate, as mediation is less stressful and less expensive than a trial. Camy B. Schwam-Wilcox is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator.