Florida Statute § 44.1011 (2) defines Mediation as “a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties’ reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.”
Additionally Florida Statute § 44.1011 (2) (d) provides that “Family mediation” includes basically any and all family law matters involving issues such as “dissolution of marriage; property division; shared or sole parental responsibility; or child support, custody, and visitation.”
Although Florida Statute § 44.1011 states that the parties do not need to have a family law attorney with them when they attend mediation, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. has found that by using an attorney you are much more likely to achieve a settlement that protects all of your rights with respect to the division of your martial assets and marital debts; as well as the entry of a parenting plan that is favorable regarding custody and visitation issues of their children.
Contrary to the perception of some parties, the mediator does not have any decision making power, so therefore any agreement that is reached must be with the mutual consent of the parties. If an agreement is reached, it is called a “Mediated Settlement Agreement”. In addition, it is extremely important to have a family law attorney with you, especially an office with the experience of New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq., in order that your Mediated Settlement Agreement is drafted in a manner that fully and completely protects you and all of your rights. At New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq., as we prepare for mediation, we draft a settlement agreement with your assistance that covers all of your concerns and desires in terms of dividing your marital assets. In addition when children are involved, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. also prepares a Parenting Plan that fully sets forth all child related concerns.
Mediation is very cost-efficient and less expensive than a trial. Although there are no witnesses who testify at a mediation, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will fully argue the facts of your case to your spouse (or his or her attorney) anticipating the substance of prospective witness testimony.
In addition, depending on the parties combined income it may be possible to use a court mediator – which will also reduce your total mediation costs. Florida Statute § 44.108 provide for the following statutory fees: “$60.00 per person per session in family mediation when the parties’ combined gross income is less than $50,000.00 per year. $120.00 per person per session in family mediation when the parties’ combined gross income is greater than $50,000.00 but less than $100,000.00 per year.”
If your combined income exceeds $100,000.00 per year, then you can expect to pay the mediator an hourly fee that typically begins at $200.00 but is normally at least $250.00 per hour.
Regardless of whether or not you qualify for court mediation, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will provide you with the best representation possible at mediation. Please give us a call.