Sarasota Divorce Mediation | Sarasota Attorney Matthew Z. Martell

Divorce and family law mediation are methods of alternative dispute resolution. Specifically, those are processes and techniques for resolving conflicts privately and outside of the judicial process. Many clients may prefer to utilize these methods for settling divorce and family law disputes rather than using traditional court proceedings. The advantages of divorce and family law mediation are speed and cost-effectiveness. Most importantly, in mediation, the parties themselves play a significant role in the settlement of their divorce of family law case. The Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. have extensive experience in assisting clients with divorce and family law mediation using these methods.  In fact, Attorney Matthew Martell is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator.

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Divorce and family law mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral and impartial third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or parties. This informal and non-adversarial process is intended to help individuals reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Divorce and family law mediation relies on negotiation, communication, facilitation, and problem solving, and emphasizes confidentiality, the needs and interests of the participants, fairness, procedural flexibility, and full disclosure. Although the mediation process is voluntary, agreements reached through mediation can be as valid as any other contract.

Divorce and family law mediation offers several advantages:

Divorce and family law mediations are often a way in which the parties can work out a solution that is likely more satisfying than any verdict rendered by a judge at trial. Clients maintain control over the amount of time and money put into achieving an agreement and they are capable of maintaining control over the process. In addition, trials are a matter of public record, but mediations are kept confidential.

In each case we handle, the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A. seek to help our clients find the most efficient and productive solution to the legal challenges they face.

The role of the mediator, who is selected by agreement between the parties, is to assist the parties in clearly identifying the issues under dispute, reduce obstacles to communication, create a safe and comfortable environment for the airing of differences, and explore settlement alternatives. Mediators use their skills to open or improve dialogue between disputants, aiming to help the parties reach an agreement on the disputed matter. The mediator is not a judge; does not make rulings; and does not evaluate the case or take sides in the process. The mediator’s job is to assist you in reaching your own resolution. The mediator cannot negotiate on behalf of any participant, coerce or improperly influence any participant to make a decision, give professional advice, or represent any of the mediation participants. The ultimate decision making authority rests solely with the participants. A mediator will not determine who is “right” or “wrong.”

Mediation commonly includes the following aspects or stages:

When a divorce or family law mediation begins, the mediator will describe the mediation process and the role of the mediator. The parties will be advised that mediation is a consensual process, that the mediator is an impartial facilitator without authority to impose a solution, and that communications made during mediation are confidential. The mediator must maintain confidentiality in all information revealed during mediation except where disclosure is required by law. All oral or written communications in mediation are confidential and inadmissible as evidence in any subsequent legal proceeding, unless both parties agree otherwise.

The mediator manages the divorce or family law mediation process and procedures. Parties may communicate privately with their attorneys during mediation. The mediator may stop the mediation conference at any time and may set times for follow up meetings. If, in the mediator’s judgment, further mediation conferences would be appropriate, productive and likely to yield meaningful results, then mediation may continue beyond a single session.

If no agreement is reached during mediation, the mediator will report the lack of agreement to the Court without comment or recommendation. Parties who enter into mediation do not forfeit any legal rights or remedies. If the mediation process does not result in settlement, each side can continue to enforce their rights through appropriate court or tribunal procedures. If an agreement is reached on any issue, the agreement must be put in writing, signed by the parties and their attorneys, and submitted to the Court unless the parties agree otherwise.

Some examples of disputes or problems that may be resolved by mediation include the following:

All civil disputes are also conducive to the mediation process. These include: