Do Florida couples have to attend mediation sessions before their divorce?
St. Petersburg, FL – Various different methods of making divorces more efficient have been developed over the years by family law professionals. Mediation is a way of avoiding court formalities and allowing couples to resolve their disputes in a manner that tends to be quicker and easier than traditional court based divorces. Because of the effectiveness of this process, some counties in the state require mediation before the couple ends up in court.
Couples who have issues with improper disclosure of income and assets, or other serious problems like domestic violence may require the traditional method of divorcing in court. Courts have more enforcement power than a mediator does. Specific legal advice should be obtained before deciding on any course of action.
What is a mediation session?
The two members of the couple meet together with a neutral person who is supposed to function as a mediator, like a kind of neutral referee. This is essentially a form of negotiation where the mediator tries to get the two parties to agree to many issues as a form of dispute resolution. The mediator’s goal is to get through the process efficiently with as much agreement as possible. Members of each couple are usually given a list of what they will receive if their negotiation fails, which tends to make compromise more likely.
These sessions tend to be fairly short blocks of a few hours compared with court hearings, and they can be scheduled much more conveniently. In an ideal situation, the couple can come up with a divorce settlement in just weeks, then the local family court can formalize this agreement and end the marriage in a fairly short time frame. The mediator or attorney can usually have a final agreement ready to be filed in court just days after the last mediation session.
Procedures for mediation
Some firms in Florida also offer mediation even before the couple has formally filed for their divorce. This option can help the couple move on quickly if all of the important aspects of their separation have already been decided and can be presented to a judge for approval. In other situations, the couple can be ordered to go through mediation before they utilize the local family court’s resources. At least one final court hearing will always be necessary to finalize the divorce even when all matters are settled during mediation.
Help from family law attorneys
The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet assist clients with their divorces and related matters in the St. Petersburg area and nearby parts of Florida. When a divorce is going to happen, legal representation is the best way for each party to protect their interests.
Firm contact info:
The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet
1901 Ulmerton Road, Suite 435, Clearwater, FL 33762