Moore Justice Center, 2nd Floor
2825 Judge Fran Jamieson Way
Viera, FL 32940
Phone (321) 690-6834
Fax (321) 617-7226
What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is an informal, non-adversarial process in which a neutral, third party (mediator) facilitates and encourages the resolution of a dispute involving issues such as spousal support, equitable distribution of property, debt allocation, and children’s issues. Parties have an opportunity to actively participate in the decision-making process. If they reach a settlement, they can avoid the expense and uncertainty of a trial in which a judge decides the result. The mediator guides the communication process so that everyone may be heard and personal feelings can be separated from the issues. Conflicts are discussed and various solutions are explored in an effort to reach a satisfactory agreement. The mediator may offer suggestions and help parties develop options to resolve the issues, but the final decisions are made by the parties.
Who Attends the Mediation Session?
Only the parties, whose names appear on the mediation order and their attorneys, if any, are included in the session. Any third parties allowed in the session will be at the discretion of the mediator and with the approval of the parties.
IN ACCORDANCE WITH FAMILY LAW RULE OF PROCEDURE 12.407, CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18 SHALL NOT BE BROUGHT TO MEDIATION.
What if an Agreement is Reached?
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will prepare a document reflecting the terms of the agreement and ask the parties and their attorneys, if applicable, to sign it. If either party does not have an attorney present, parties may agree to allow attorneys’ review after the mediation. If not, the agreement will be submitted to the Court for approval.
What if an Agreement is Not Reached?
If the parties do not reach agreement on any issues, the mediator will notify the attorneys, if any, and the Court, so that a trial date can be set.
Is the Mediation Confidential?
The information disclosed in mediation is confidential, except that information which is required or permitted to be disclosed by law and that information which is available through other methods. Information obtained in mediation cannot be used if the case goes to trial. The mediator does not share information nor make recommendations to the judge. The parties are asked to sign a statement agreeing not to subpoena the mediator to testify on either party’s behalf.
What are the Costs of Mediation?
Mediation costs are based on a sliding scale according to the parties’ incomes. Please refer to the Order to Family Mediation for these charges and for the fees for cancellations, rescheduling, or failure to appear.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Mediators do not give legal advice nor is mediation a substitute for obtaining such advice. Attorneys can advise their clients on applicable law and on realistic expectations for the outcome of their case. However, no one can predict with certainty what a judge will decide in a case or be able to tell you whether a trial is worth the time or the financial and emotional expense. It is advisable for parties to consult with their attorneys prior to mediation and to have their attorneys review any agreement if the attorney does not attend the mediation session.
What are the Advantages of Mediation?
The mediation process is informal, which typically encourages better communication between the parties.
- Mediation is confidential.
- Parties actively participate in the decisions that will affect them.
- Immediate resolution can occur, which can save the time, money, and stress that is usually associated with a trial.
- Parties determine the outcome of the case, and they can avoid the uncertainty of a trial.
- Parties who are able to resolve their issues tend to be more satisfied with the results and are less likely to return to Court for further litigation of their case.
- Parents can begin working together in a cooperative manner for their children’s sake.
PLEASE NOTE: This information should not be considered legal advice. If you need legal assistance, you are advised to consult with an attorney.
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