Mediation provides a way to solve problems without going to court. It is the most common alternative dispute resolution method used in family law, and it is mandatory in Palm Beach County. A family law mediator acts as a neutral third party to help the parties arrive at a resolution. In most cases, the parties have their attorneys present to advise and assist in negotiations.
Mr. Schutz brings a great degree of knowledge and expertise to the negotiating table. He was trained to secure value-added negotiated resolutions during mediation, and is often hired by other lawyers to mediate select Florida divorce cases.
Schutz & White believes mediation to be a very worthwhile method of dispute resolution. Compared with going to trial, Florida mediation involves far less time and expense, better preserves your privacy, gives you more control over the outcome, and can set a tone of cooperation that may prove beneficial after the marriage is dissolved. Litigation should always be a last resort.
Studies show that most spouses believe mediation will be unsuccessful, but they are often proven wrong. In the vast majority of cases referred to mediation, litigants are able to reach an agreement on some or all of the issues. The American Bar Association estimates that 50 to 90 percent of child custody cases in larger cities are settled through mediation.
Mediation Questions & Answers
- Q: Where does mediation take place?
A: Often, Schutz & White utilizes private mediators, so your mediation will take place in either our office, the opposing counsel’s office, or the mediator’s office. However, if you qualify for court mediation, it will take place in the courthouse, but this is something not available to higher net worth clients.
- Q: Who chooses the mediator?
A: Family law mediators can be licensed mental health counselors, accounts or lawyers. Depending on the focus of your case, we'll pick a mediator that is most appropriate for the issues at hand.
We work with opposing counsel in choosing a mediator we feel will work best with all parties involved. In the event there is not an agreement on the mediator, the court will assign one.
- Q: Do I have to be present during mediation? Can my attorney go in place of me?
A: For family law mediation (absent special circumstances), Florida law requires you to be present. Your attorney cannot go in your place. Mediation is one of the most important processes in your family law case, and your participation is crucial in helping to resolve your dispute.
- Q: Is there a minimum number of mediation sessions you must attend to get a resolution?
A: You are required to attend mediation at least once prior to going to trial in your case. In certain counties, you are required to attend mediation prior to obtaining a temporary relief hearing. Additionally, the Court may order the parties to attend additional mediation sessions, if the Court feels it is necessary.
- Q: Who decides when mediation isn’t working?
A: Either party can declare an impasse at any time during the mediation. Most mediators will make efforts to overcome the reasoning for an impasse. However, if the mediation is stalled, the mediator can declare an impasse or adjourn the mediation for a later date.