Mediation is a confidential process that allows parents, spouses or couples to create their own law or agreement. If you feel that your case could be settled without the necessity of litigation or a judge deciding your fate then mediation is a great option.  You can select mediation as an option prior to filing an action for divorce or child disputes.  In fact, prior to having the judge decide your fate after filing a dispute with the court you will most likely be required to attend mediation. Instead of leaving your future and the future of your children to the decision of a judge that knows nothing about your family, try negotiating and agreeing on terms that you and your children can live with. Mediation is especially valuable when there are children involved because it allows the parents to make the rules specific to their family dynamics. 

Some families are able to reach an agreement about division of assets, child custody, and spousal or child support through mediation.  If an agreement is reached then the mediator will draft a settlement agreement and the parties can then submit the agreement to the judge as a unified front without throwing mud in the courtroom.  If an agreement is not reached, or only partially reached, the parties may still submit their dispute to the judge. Sometimes parties can resolve some, but not all, of their issues through mediation and submit the remaining disagreements to the judge.

Mediations occur at different times during the separation process whether it is at the time the parties separate, years after separation, before a divorce action is filed, after a divorce action is filed or prior to taking one parent back to court for issues.  Almost all cases can benefit from mediation and mediation is required in practically all contested divorces in Florida.

What is the Mediator’s Role?

A mediator is that of an impartial individual acting as a communicator for the parties to try to resolve the issues before them without the necessity of a judge deciding for them.  Mediators do not give advice, make decisions or force settlements, but they do aid the parties in a collaborative and cooperative way moving towards an agreeable resolution.

Erin Catey, Esq. is an attorney certified by the Florida Supreme Court to conduct family law mediations. Erin has acted as an attorney in hundreds of family law mediations representing her clients and has since seen the value in mediation.  Her experience as a divorce trial attorney allows her to fully understand the legal ramifications of a family law case and assist you in amicably resolving those issues.  If you believe that mediation is right for you and your family, please call the office at 727-372-4722 to schedule a free telephone consultation to discuss the mediation process. 

Uncontested Divorce

If you and your spouse have agreed that the marriage is over and know how you wish to settle all issues regarding the divorce then you have an uncontested dissolution.  Now you are probably wondering, what next?  
Mediation can be a cost-effective and less stressful alternative for divorcing couples.  In an uncontested dissolution mediation, you and your spouse will meet with our mediator and enter into a written marital settlement agreement and, if children are involved, a parenting plan, resolving all of your disputes.

Many individuals have attempted to handle uncontested divorces on their own, only to face significant problems filing the necessary paperwork or with terms of the agreements after the final judgment.  Attending a mediation conference with a certified mediator can assist in limiting such consequences in the future.  Now a mediator cannot provide legal advice but the mediator can ensure that the terms of the parties agreement are properly written in settlement papers to ensure future enforcement is available. 

Erin C. Catey, Esq., is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator as well as a family law attorney that can handle your uncontested divorce for you.  As a mediator, she can assist you and your spouse in completing the paperwork, advising of the current law and explain the language of marital settlement agreement and parenting plan.  However, if Erin is acting as a mediator she cannot provide either of you with legal advice including explaining what the judge might do in your case and applying your specific facts to the law.  However, uncontested dissolutions through mediation with a family law attorney is a low-cost alternative to costly divorce while still protecting your and your family’s interests.

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