Do I have to retain an attorney?
No. An attorney is not necessary to participate in divorce mediation. Most cases can be resolved without attorney involvement. You always have the option of consulting with an attorney before you sign an agreement. If your case involves child abuse, domestic violence or you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you should consult with an attorney.
Do both of us have to be in agreement before we come to mediation?
No. Typically, if you can get your spouse to agree to meet with us we can help you reach agreement on all issues.
Where does the mediation conference take place?
We have offices in Gainesville, Lake City, Live Oak and Jacksonville. If you are unable to attend a mediation conference in one of our office locations, we can usually secure a conference space in your area.
What happens at the mediation conference?
The Mediator will assist the parties in dividing their assets and debts. If children are involved, the Mediator will assist the parties with creating a parenting plan, timesharing schedule and the calculation of child support. The parties’ agreement will be reduced to writing so that it can be filed with the court as an uncontested divorce.
What if we don’t have any children?
Mediation is suitable for parties without children. The Mediator will assist the parties in identifying the issues specific to their case, help them with a division of assets and debts, issues presented by upside down real estate, alimony, and any other issues they wish to resolve.
How long will it take?
Most divorce mediations can be completed in a single three or four hour session. Cases with more complicated issues may require additional sessions.
Who pays for the mediation?
The parties pay the mediation fees. They may divide the fee between them or agree that one side pays the fee.
Does mediation work for couples that are already divorced but have issues related to their divorce decree or prior agreement?
Yes. The mediator can help parties that are having difficulty post divorce and require changes to their marital settlement agreement (MSA). A common situation would be changes to the parties’ timesharing agreement or child support modifications. Some MSA’s actually contain language encouraging the parties to return to mediation before filing papers with the court when new issues come up or something needs to be changed.
What about unmarried couples with children?
Parties with children still need to have a parenting plan, timesharing (visitation) schedule and an agreement regarding child support. These cases can and should be mediated regardless of marital status.
What happens after the Mediation? How long does it take to get divorced?
At the conclusion of the mediation, the Mediator will assist the parties in preparing their Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). The parties can obtain the court forms from their local courthouse or online on the Florida Supreme Court’s website, fill them out and attach the mediation agreement so the case can be filed as an uncontested divorce. After you file the forms and completion certificate for the parenting class (if minor children are involved), you return to court several weeks later for a short 5 or 10 minute hearing before a Judge or General Magistrate. The court will require you to prove that you have lived in the State of Florida for at least 6 months prior to filing the Petition, confirm that your marriage is irretrievably broken and that you entered into your mediated martial settlement agreement freely and voluntarily. The court will then dissolve your marriage and enter a Final Judgment.