There are a few different ways to resolve a legal dispute, and a knowledgeable attorney will be able to help you decide what is the best option for you. During these important discussions, you may hear the terms mediation and litigation. It is important to understand the different forms of conflict resolution as you determine which option may be a better fit for your case.
In Florida, if a divorce is contested it is most often mandatory for the parties to go through mediation before they can go to trial. This mandatory rule is not an attempt to reconcile the parties, but to ease the transition from married life to single life with as little stress and drama as possible, especially when children are involved. The mediation process is designed to help the divorcing parties deal with the necessary decisions involving division of assets, child care, child support, and other expenses without resorting to bitter arguments or hurtful commentary towards one another.
Keep in mind, the term “mandatory” can be somewhat misleading. Mandatory mediation does not mean that the parties must reach an agreement at the conclusion of the mediation. Mandatory simply implies that the parties agree to exercise a good faith effort to participate in mediation before pursuing a resolution by trial.
When you come to Suzanne W. Green Law for assistance with your divorce, you will benefit from the fact that Mrs. Green is not only an experienced and skillful family law attorney, but she is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law mediator. How does this help you? If you and your spouse can work together to reach an agreement or compromise on issues surrounding your divorce, Mrs. Green can help usher a speedy and amicable uncontested divorce.
There are a few reasons for the requirement for mediation. First, mediation is relatively short compared to most divorce trials. This saves the parties, as well as the overburdened court system, precious time and energy. Second, it is almost universally agreed that allowing parties to make decisions regarding their own families often leaves the parties feeling happier with the resulting arrangement. Third, since most cases settle in mediation, the cost of a resolution at mediation is much lower than if a case is brought to trial. In general, the cost of mediation is only a fraction of the costs incurred to take a case to trial.
If the parties are unable to reach an understanding by the end of mediation, they are still free to seek a resolution through litigation.
In the most general sense, litigation refers to the use of state or federal court proceedings to resolve a dispute. Cases in litigation are heard by a judge and/or jury. The court procedures governing litigation are strict and very formal and failure to follow them can result in a dismissal of your case. Most people are likely more familiar with this style of dispute resolution from its dramatization in television and movies.
Whether mediation or litigation serves your needs better depends your specific goals and the nature of your case.
It can be overwhelming to research the pros and cons of mediation and litigation, especially when emotions are high. If you’re in Northeast Florida and struggling with how to handle your family, estate, or business dispute, the attorneys at Suzanne W. Green Law may be able to help. The versatile lawyers and staff at Suzanne W. Green Law have years of civil law experience and can help you decide what’s best for you and the outcome of your case. Contact our office at (904)280-8770 to schedule a consultation.