In Florida, if you have a family law matter filed in the courts, you are most likely going to be ordered to mediation before trial. Unfortunately, by the time parties make it to mediation, the litigation process has already taken its financial and emotional toll on everyone. Tensions might be higher, respect might have crumbled and the parenting situation has become overly complicated. It is much harder to secure a mediated resolution later in litigation if these problems exist.
I find this unfortunate because proceeding to trial in a family law matter involves risk; and the outcome is not a decision made by the people that matter but rather a judge. The risk is that no one walks away happy and that parents have to come back to court later because they’re unhappy with the outcome. All this costs more money, more time, more stress.
Don’t you want to get on with your life? Wouldn’t you rather spend money on building your new life and not attorney’s fees?
I want to clarify now and forever: you do not have to wait to go to mediation. Your attorney may encourage you to wait, and it is up to you to question their motives in doing so. Are their reasons for waiting to earn more fees off of you or are they concerned that your ex has hidden assets? Is your attorney just more comfortable with the courtroom or is there a serious substance abuse issue that needs to be resolved as it pertains to parenting? It is tough to discern but it is worth a searching inquiry.
Do your cost benefit analysis. Most parties would be better suited to try mediation early on. Your inability to get along or communicate now will only get worse. Moreover, mediators are not phased by soon-to-be exes disagreeing with each other. This is their niche in this world and they will work their tail off to exhaust all possible ways to resolution.
There are some serious benefits to attempting mediation early on. If you settle, you are on the fast track to living life without a case weighing down your already hurting soul. If you settle early, you will most likely save yourself thousands of dollars. By going to mediation early, even if you don’t settle, you will not be negatively impacted in the courts for trying alternative dispute resolution.
Talk to your attorney if you have one. If not, consult with an attorney about early mediation or go straight to the mediator and make an appointment right away.