Mediation

Licensed Family Law Mediator Serving the Fort Lauderdale Area

Often, a divorce is complex. It can be challenging to figure out how marital property and debts should be divided. It can also be a struggle to figure out a schedule for parenting time or agree to spousal support. Decisions made during a divorce can affect your family far into the future. If you are considering a divorce in Florida, you may be ordered into mediation, or you may choose to use mediation to have some control over decisions related to child support, child custody, spousal support, and property division. It is crucial to hire a mediator with experience and knowledge of Florida family law. Fort Lauderdale mediation lawyer Lynnette A. Ensign is a licensed mediator who can help you reach a resolution that is sustainable for both sides. She knows how to minimize the conflict and tension in the process.

Common Family Law Issues That Mediation May Resolve

In Florida, “fault” is no longer a basis for a divorce. You can get a divorce on one of two grounds: irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or mental incompetence. If you do not have minor children, you can use an uncontested divorce procedure and execute a marital settlement agreement. However, the spouses may not be able to agree on all of the terms of the marital settlement agreement. In that case, it can be useful to go to mediation, just as it is in a contested divorce.

In contested divorces, the court may decide on the division of marital property as well as debts. It is supposed to use principles of equitable distribution, which means that the division needs to be fair, but it may not result in a 50-50 split.

Another potentially controversial issue in a contested divorce is timesharing, or child custody. The court will look at the best interests of the child in making a decision. If the spouses are able to come to an agreement in mediation about timesharing, it will need to be in the best interests of their child, and the agreement should be detailed. It will need to include specific information about who is responsible for medical and school decisions, explain how a parent will communicate with the child when the child has parenting time with the other parent, and provide a schedule of parenting time. A mediation attorney in the Fort Lauderdale area can guide you through each of these issues.

It is important for both parents to be aware that they are both legally obligated to support a minor child. The court can order either parent to pay child support during divorce proceedings and after them. Usually, the amount of child support is derived from the parents’ combined net income.

The Role of Mediation

Often, the spouses are not able to come to a meeting of the minds either about property division or about how their child should be brought up. A mediator is an unbiased, neutral third party who can help facilitate conversations with the goal of coming to an agreement with which both parties can live. It is often important that the mediator understands what a court is likely to accept so that they can give a realistic, knowledgeable assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each spouse’s arguments.

Mediation allows spouses who are going through a dispute over their impending divorce or other family law matter to discuss their concerns and make decisions with the assistance of a Fort Lauderdale mediation attorney. The mediator’s role is not to serve as a judge or decide on a solution. Instead, it is to facilitate each spouse’s ability to make decisions about important matters.

If the court has ordered you to mediation, but you cannot arrive at an agreement, you will need to return to court. The court can make decisions after conducting a trial.

Confidentiality in Mediation

Mediation is usually confidential. The mediator keeps your discussions and your information private. You are not supposed to discuss what was said at mediation with another person, except when an exception to the rule of confidentiality applies. The Mediation Confidentiality and Privilege Act will always apply when mediation is court-ordered, and it will also apply when a dispute is mediated by a certified mediator or when the parties agree that the Act will apply to their mediation.

Consult a Fort Lauderdale Attorney to Help Resolve a Family Law Dispute

If you are searching for a mediator in South Florida while you are going through a divorce, you can consult Lynnette A. Ensign. Ms. Ensign can mediate matters in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Plantation, Sunrise, West Palm Beach, and other cities in Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties. Call us at (954) 760-7659 or contact us via our online form to set up an appointment with a mediation lawyer in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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