Mediation in Family Law Cases
Under Florida law, mediation is required before trial in every divorce or paternity action. There are several benefits to resolving your case at mediation as opposed to a contested trial. First, resolving your case at mediation gives you a say in the actual outcome. In a trial, there is only so much your attorney can control – the presentation of evidence, witnesses, and legal argument. However, an attorney cannot control the facts of your case, nor can they control the Judge. The trial is always a gamble, as you can never predict with absolute certainty what a Judge’s ruling would be. At best, an attorney can make an educated guess as to the possible result, based on the facts, the law, and their knowledge of your particular Judge. Therefore, resolving your case at mediation as opposed to trial can eliminate much of the risk in going to Court.
Further, mediation can save time and money that would otherwise be spent on litigation and attorney’s fees. Attorneys typically charge an hourly rate in family law matters, and the general rule of thumb is the more time spent on a case, the more it costs the client. Resolving your divorce or paternity case at mediation will undoubtedly save you thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, as well as expediting the resolution of your case. When a case is not resolved at mediation, it can take months to finally get in front of a Judge for trial. This waiting period can only increase the stress and strain of litigation, and merely prolongs the resolution of your case.
All told, it is certainly preferable to resolve a family law case out of Court. However, if the opposing side is being completely unreasonable, there are sometimes no better options than to take your case in front of a Judge. Either way, it is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to help you navigate the potential pitfalls of family law litigation.
A graduate of the University of Florida for his B.A. And Law degree, Chris is an avid Florida Gator fan, as well as Pearl Jam, Nascar and Golf.
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