Why am I going to mediation and what can I expect?
Posted By Posted by Kelly Tobaygo on May 2, 2013 12:00pm PDT || May 2, 2013
The short answer to why you are going is because it is probably required; there are some counties around the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough, for example) that require mediation before a divorce case can be set for trial. The other answer is because, almost without fail, it will result in a better outcome than if you left the case up to a judge at trial. Mediation gives you control over the decisions. It lets you negotiate for things that are important to you, and sacrifice those that may not matter to you. Often times, spouses value different things. Mediation will allow spouses to both walk away with an agreement that they are pleased with because it is their agreement, not a court order created by a disinterested third party. The spouses are the ones who control mediation, who decide what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, who decide which person gets what asset or which holiday with the children. At mediation, nobody can force you to agree to anything. If your case goes to trial, both parties may walk away with everything they didn’t want, because a judge may take everything and split it down the middle, without considering who has a personal connection with a certain holiday or piece of personal property. Settling a case at mediation is without a doubt the best way to resolve your family law case.
When you go to mediation, you should have already met with your attorney and have a game plan. Your attorney should know your goals, big and small, and have an idea of where you would like to start the negotiation, as well as where your “bottom line” is on all of the major issues. If you are attending mediation with a private mediator, you should prepare for a long day, which may get emotional or stressful. It is important to not give up, and to stay engaged the entire time. Your attorney and the mediator will be able to help you with this, as they will be able to explain things from an objective perspective, and help with a cost-benefit analysis of all options presented. The most important thing you can do to ensure a successful mediation is to prepare, prepare, prepare. Meet with you attorney and build a relationship with him or her so that you trust that they are helping you make the right decisions during this extremely difficult process. An experienced family law attorney will be able to keep your goals in mind throughout the entire negotiation and mediation process.