Bradenton Divorce Mediation

Mediation Frequently Asked Questions:

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties involved in a dispute work with the mediator, an impartial party, to generate their own solutions in settling their conflict. Unlike a trial or arbitration in which a judge’s or an arbitrator’s decisions subject one party to win and the other party to lose, mediation is about finding a solution that works for both parties.

How does a dispute or a case reach mediation?

Cases may be self-referred by anyone who is involved in the dispute, by counsel, or by the court. The majority of cases mediated are civil in nature. It is not necessary for cases to have legal issues and/or lawsuits pending.

When should I consider mediation?

Mediation is always an option if you are thinking about taking your dispute to court. Other signs may be if the dispute has been ongoing, if you want to preserve a relationship being affected by the conflict, if the dispute is upsetting and affecting your daily life, if you cannot afford the time and cost involved with litigation, if you would like to speak to the other party so they may hear your concerns, or if you would like to resolve the dispute yourself without a third party judgment.

What is the mediator’s role?

The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication between the parties, not to impose solutions. Mediators do not advise, take sides, or render a judgment. Instead, the mediator will work with all the parties to help them reach a mutually acceptable resolution.

What kinds of cases can be mediated?

Most civil (non-criminal) disputes can be mediated, including those involving contracts, leases, small business ownership, employment, and divorce. For example, a divorcing couple might mediate to work out a mutually agreeable child custody agreement, or estranged business partners might choose mediation to work out an agreement to divide their business. Nonviolent criminal matters, such as neighbor disputes or other personal harassment issues, can also be successfully mediated.

How long does mediation take?

Typical mediation cases, such as consumer claims, small business disputes, or auto accident claims, are usually resolved after a half day to a full day of mediation. Cases with multiple parties often last longer. Major business disputes—those involving lots of money, complex contracts, or ending a partnership—may last several days or more.

Private divorce mediation, where a couple aims to settle all the issues in their divorce—property division, alimony, child custody, visitation, and support—generally requires one or more full day mediation sessions spread over several weeks or months.

How is mediation different from arbitration?

A mediator normally has no authority to render a decision. It’s up to the parties themselves—with the mediator’s help—to work informally toward their own agreement. An arbitrator, on the other hand, conducts a contested hearing between the parties and then, acting as a judge, rends a legally binding decision. Arbitration resembles a court proceeding: Each side calls witnesses, presents evidence, and makes arguments. Although arbitration has traditionally been used to resolve labor and commercial disputes, it is growing in popularity as a quicker and less expensive alternative to going to court.

What are the stages of mediation?

While mediation is not as formal as going to court, the process is more structured than many people imagine. A typical mediation involves six distinct stages:

How can I be sure mediation will produce a fair result?

In mediation, you and the opposing parties will work out a solution to your own dispute. Unless you freely agree, there will be no final resolution. This approach has several advantages over going to court:

For more information, see our Mediation page.