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Most people dread filing for divorce. It's expensive—the average divorce in the U.S. costs $15,000. Most people also assume that their divorce will inevitably turn into a bitter, drawn-out courtroom battle with their soon-to-be-ex. But what if there was a better way?
Mediation focuses on reducing the costs and stress associated with divorce by encouraging both parties to compromise on a mutually beneficial arrangement. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our Palm Harbor mediation attorneys can help you protect your rights and pursue an ideal outcome in your mediation.
How Does Mediation Work in Palm Harbor?
During mediation, two parties who want to dissolve their marriage work with a mediator to compromise on mutually beneficial terms for their divorce.
Mediation happens outside of the courtroom. Many courts require spouses to attend mediation before they continue their divorce in court. The mediation process typically looks something like this:
- Mediation starts. Mediation is initiated either after both parties agree they want to mediate their divorce, or a court requires them to attend mediation. The court may appoint a Florida Supreme Court Certified mediator to the mediation, or the parties can find a private mediator. The mediator must be a neutral third party with no stake in the divorce or a history with either party.
- During mediation, the mediator cannot give legal advice to either party. However, a mediation attorney can give you legal advice. Working with a mediation lawyer can help you protect your rights and best interests.
- The mediator asks each party how they want to handle various divorce-related processes, such as property division, child support and custody, and alimony. After identifying how each party wants to handle the divorce, the mediator tries to help the parties compromise on mutually beneficial terms.
- The length of the mediation process varies depending on the circumstances of the case. Some mediations take as little as one session, while others take several.
- If you and your soon-to-be-ex agree on terms for the divorce, the mediator will help you draft a mediation agreement putting those terms into writing. The mediation agreement must be notarized and signed by both parties .
- You must then present the mediation agreement to your county court. A judge will look over the agreement to ensure that it's both equitable and legally sound. After approving the agreement, the judge will sign it, finalizing the divorce.
- If the parties cannot come to terms during mediation, they can choose to continue the divorce in court.
Our Tampa mediation attorneys can help you identify whether mediation is right for you and pursue an ideal outcome in your mediation case.
Why Should I Choose Mediation?
The biggest benefit of mediation is that it enables parties to avoid a court-ordered divorce decree.
If you and your partner cannot compromise on terms for your divorce, the judge presiding over the case will draft a divorce decree on your behalf. When courts decide the outcome of a divorce, both parties often leave the process feeling frustrated.
The truth is, you know your best interests more accurately than the court. If a judge decides the terms of your divorce for you, they may not do what's best for you and your spouse.
Using mediation enables you to have direct control over the outcome of your divorce. While you may not get everything you want out of your divorce using mediation, you can negotiate for the things that matter most. You're much more likely to be satisfied with the outcome of your divorce using mediation than if you rely on a court to decide it for you.
Mediation has several other benefits:
- It's cost-effective. Mediation tends to cost significantly less than pursuing a divorce in court.
- It's less stressful. The collaborative nature of mediation can encourage you and your spouse to maintain a positive relationship throughout and after the divorce, reducing stress.
- It's fast. Mediation typically resolves quickly, making it a great option if you know what you want from your divorce.
- It's private. Because mediation occurs out of court, you won't have to worry about eyes prying into hearings or court records.
Our Palm Harbor mediation attorneys can work with you to navigate the mediation process with confidence.
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