Friday, March 18, 2011

Family Mediation - The Comeback Kid

Mediation in the family law system is nothing new.  It has always been a part of the divorce process and a tool for settling disputes such as child visitation schedules. But ask your neighbor if she knows what family mediation is - chances are, she doesn’t. However, mediation is becoming the popular kid in school once again.  In our down economy, saving money is a constant thought on people’s minds. When experiencing a family problem in need of legal attention, people don’t have the time or desire to fight out their family battles in court, let alone have the money to hire an attorney. Fortunately, a better alternative exists, which will save your family time, hassles, headaches, and a ton of money. 

That alternative is pro se, pre-suit mediation. “Pro se” means on your own, no attorney. “Pre-suit” means before you walk on the courthouse steps. Why bother spending thousands of dollars on an attorney, wasting months on end in court, and putting the fate of your family into the hands of a complete stranger if you don’t have to? Pro se, pre-suit family mediation is the money saving answer.  Saving your money is great, but the part that’s even better is playing the judge and deciding how your family will be divided. You wouldn’t let a judge decide who, when, and where you should marry, so why would you let a judge decide how much time you can spend with your children or who should get your grandmother’s antique tea set.  These decisions should be yours alone.

You can make these important decisions if you work with a mediator; and I suggest one who has been certified by the Florida Supreme Court.  A mediator will help guide you and your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend in deciding what is best for your family.  If both parties join forces and work together, mediation could last a couple of hours and cost a few hundred dollars at most.  Now compare that with a lengthy, drawn-out court battle, which could cost upwards of thousands of dollars. Sounds like an easy decision, right?  It is.  Mediation has made its comeback.