Divorce does not have to be a fight. In fact, in many cases it is better for all parties involved if the separating spouses can settle their differences outside of a judicial setting. However, the emotional nature of divorce makes it nearly impossible for many to negotiate directly with their former spouses. Moreover, even those who want to work together may not fully appreciate all the matters they need to resolve. When direct negotiation is not enough, mediation may still be a preferable alternative to the traditional judicial process.
The length and complexity of divorce depends on how readily the parties seek to resolve the issues involved. If they come to court having already resolved most or all of their disputes, the process can go very quickly. If the parties must rely on a judge to solve their problems, it can take years. Alternative dispute resolution techniques like mediation can help spouses who want to work together but are struggling to reach a consensus. Mediation offers several advantages over traditional court litigation:
- Privacy — Mediation allows the spouses to keep their family matters private. Mediation takes place in a private setting and all information disclosed remains strictly confidential.
- Flexibility — Unlike judges, mediators do not impose solutions. They simply facilitate by identifying the issues the parties need to resolve and helping them identify common ground.
- Speed — Because mediation is a private matter, it can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties involved. This stands in stark contrast to the court process, as it may take weeks or months to get a hearing.
Mediation has become increasingly common in divorce and custody matters because of the particular benefits it offers. Experienced Florida family law attorneys almost universally offer mediation services, including advising individual spouses during divorce mediation or acting as mediators themselves.