One of the toughest issues to tackle in any divorce case is alimony. Unlike child support, there is no set formula for determination of alimony. To make matter even more confusing, there are different types of alimony. The Florida Alimony Statute, Fla. Stat. 63.08, was substantially changed effective July of 2011. The statute did provide [...][more]
Divorce Mediation & Family Law Mediation
For Individuals Without Attorneys
Mediation is a process where a neutral mediator helps the parties communicate and negotiate to reach a mutual settlement. More often than not, the parties are closer on the issues than they think. A trained family law mediator can help the parties communicate and reach an agreement.
My name is Tristan Sanders and I am a Family Law Mediator. I have over eighteen years of experience in family law. For the past five years, I have been focusing my efforts helping families resolve marital/domestic disputes through mediation in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. I have acted as the mediator in over 500 cases, and participated in hundreds more. My experience has convinced me that mediation is the single best way to resolve most family law cases.
Family Law Mediation: an Alternative to Expensive and Stressful Litigation
Mediation Defined – Mediation is defined by the Florida rules as: “A process whereby a neutral and impartial person acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute without prescribing what it should be. It is an informal and non-adversarial process intended to help disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement.” - Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators 10.210
Role of the Mediator – The role of the mediator is to reduce obstacles to communication, assist in the identification of issues and exploration of alternatives, and otherwise facilitate voluntary agreements resolving the dispute. The ultimate decision-making authority, however, rests solely with the parties. - Florida Rules for Certified and Court-Appointed Mediators 10.211
My Definition of Mediation
Mediation is an informal, confidential settlement conference, during which an impartial third party facilitates and moderates communication, insures civility, offers alternative solutions, brings issues to the attention of the parties, and assists with the drafting of an agreement.
Why Mediation Works
Mediation works because most litigants want their conflict to be over, and want what is fair. Unfortunately, many individuals embroiled in a break up temporarily lose the ability to communicate effectively. Lack of communication leads to more conflict and unresolved issues. Mediation allows participants to communicate effectively in a controlled, neutral, environment. Additionally, a mediator can suggest alternatives that neither party may have thought of, giving both participants a fresh perspectives of the issues.
Can My Case be Mediated?
Almost any type of family law case can be mediated. Mediation can be extremely beneficial to parties sorting out divorce, child support, alimony, paternity, relocation and modification issues. In fact, many final judgments require the parties to participate in mediation before the parties are allowed to seek relief in a Court, before a judge.
What Happens at Mediation?
The mediator gives both parties a brief explanation of the mediation process. The parties are told that the process is confidential, and that the mediator may not make decisions for the parties, or provide legal advice. The parties will then take turns and briefly outline the issue, or issues, to be resolved. Thereafter, the parties, with the assistance of the mediator, work towards a mutual agreement. If an agreement is reached, the mediator reduces the agreement to writing, and the parties review and sign the agreement. Agreements can be full agreements, which include a marital settlement agreement and parenting plan; a partial agreement; or a temporary agreement. If a case has already been opened, the mediator files the original agreement with the court, and files a report as to the outcome of the mediation. If no case has been opened, the parties must file the agreement with the court along with other paperwork. The mediator can provide assistance in completing Florida Supreme Court Family Law Forms.
How is Child Support determined?
The mediator can assist the parties in calculating child support guidelines that are based upon their agreement and incomes.
What Happens After Mediation?
The Mediator may provide assistance in completing Florida Supreme Court Approved forms that the parties can then file. Most courthouses have a unit where people without attorneys can file their cases and get limited assistance. These units will check over paperwork and schedule a final hearing.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
I charge $200.00 an hour for mediation. Typically, a case involving children takes between three and four hours to settle. The total cost for a settling a case averages between $1,000.00 and $2,000.00, including the court fees, which are typically $408.00
Uncontested Divorce Services
Every case in Orange County will go to mediation before it goes to court. For parties with a combined income of fifty thousand dollars or more, over ninety percent of cases either settle, or reach a partial agreement. Going straight to mediation can save time, effort and money. It can also considerably reduce frustration, and help the parties resolve their disputes and move on with their lives.
Mediation Service For Attorneys:
I have over fifteen years of family law experience as an Orlando divorce lawyer and have mediated well over three hundred case. If you have not mediated with me, ask about me from someone who has. I pride myself on bringing a calming, respectful, insightful approach to all my mediations. As of November of 2012, I am limiting my practice to mediation only. I am available for private mediations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. My hourly rate for mediation is $200.00 per hour. My office is conveniently located near the Fairbanks exit off of I-4 in Winter Park. I am able to travel for mediations in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties. I would be honored to serve as the mediator in your case.
I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, (407) 312-6252.
I look forward to mediating your case.
• Divorce Settlement Agreement
Family law cases, including divorce, child support, and paternity cases, can be resolved by mediation agreement. Mediation agreements are settlement agreements drafted by the parties in collaboration with the mediator. In mediation, the parties play an active role in constructing the terms of the settlement with the assistance of a neutral skilled professional who guides them through the process of discussing the issues relevant to their case. Finalized agreements are then filed with the court and adopted into a final judgment.
• Resolving Time-Sharing, Formerly Known As Child Custody, Through Mediation
Cases involving children must have a parenting plan. The parenting plan spells out the time sharing arrangement, which the parents will have with their children. Time sharing is the legal concept that has replaced child custody in Florida law. A time sharing, or parenting plan, can be effectively drafted by the parties during mediation. Personalized final agreements are then filed with the court and adopted into a final judgment.
• No Attorney Divorce
Although a mediator cannot give legal advice, drawing upon his or her extensive experience, a mediator can help the individuals identify and resolve issues that are legally required, and are common problem areas. Individuals, taking advantage of the mediators experience, can draft an agreement that is legally sufficient, practically sound and unique to their particular circumstance. Once an agreement is reached, it can be filed with the court and easily finalized by the parties in an uncontested, non-adversarial hearing, without an attorney.