If you and your spouse live in Florida with at least one child under the age of 18, and you have both determined that getting a divorce is the best decision, it is important to understand that mediation may be required. Specifically, Florida state law requires mediation if both parents cannot agree on appropriate custody, visitation, and child-support decisions. Simply by your filing a request for a divorce, the judge presiding over your case has the right to order mediation. As a result, when you are going through a divorce in Florida and mediation has become necessary, being aware of the following information will be very helpful.
#1-Mediation Often Saves Time and Frustration
Unfortunately, the stress of a divorce can often impact the way that you and your spouse communicate with one another. That difficulty in communication can then extend to the decisions you need to make regarding your children under the age of 18, such as with matters of financial support, visitation, and custody. Although the court can step in and make an order that you will have to comply with, it is important to consider that those decisions might not be similar to any of the choices you and your spouse want.
Therefore, the mediator's role becomes even more important, since the impartiality they provide can frequently keep the lines of communication open between the spouses. By extension, it is often easier to compromise on the issues that previously may have seemed impossible to negotiate. At that time, the judge will just need to approve of the decisions you make, and those decisions may be easier to live with than decisions made by a judge.
#2-You May Be Able to Agree on Child-Support Payments That Deviate from the Norm in Florida
It is frequently surprising to discover that you and your spouse may be allowed to make decisions about child support that are not consistent with the recommendations of the state. For example, if one or more children has higher education costs because they attend a private school or unusually pricey child-care facility, you may find that the recommendations of the state are not consistent with those higher-than-average costs. In addition, if your children spend approximately half of their time with both parents, the financial support provided by one parent to the other might be less than the state would typically order.
While concerns about the important details about access, custody, and financial support for your kids can be discussed as part of your mediation, you should remember that the judge will ultimately need to approve the decisions you make. As a result, it will be helpful to put in writing the information pertaining to those important parenting decisions during mediation.
#3-The Mediator Cannot Offer Legal Advice and Must Remain Impartial
It is important to note that your mediator is there to provide an impartial presence with the goal of facilitating effective communication and easier decisions between both spouses. He or she will not side with either party and you should not ask for their opinions as to whether or not you or your spouse are right.
However, since you and your spouse are allowed to have your attorneys with you during mediation, you will be able to consult with your lawyer about legal questions as they arise during the meeting.
In conclusion, although divorce is rarely an easy decision, it can be even more difficult when you still have minor children at home and cannot agree on financial, custody, and other pertinent issues. Therefore, it is a good idea to be aware of the facts listed above about divorce mediation. For more information, consult a Florida organization that is like Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah.