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Family Law Mediation Attorneys in Orlando
Mediation is a voluntary process in which parties work together to come to a mutually acceptable resolution to some or all of the issues in their case. While mediation is voluntary, it is often required by the Court that parties attend mediation. This means that the parties must attend the mediation, but it remains voluntary in the sense that the Court is not ordering the parties to settle their case. In fact, with a few exceptions, the discussions that occur in mediation are confidential and cannot be relayed to the Judge, unless it is in the form of an agreement. This allows parties to speak freely and openly in mediation and work together to try to reach a resolution without fear that their words will be used against them.
Most family law cases in Orange County and Orlando must go to mediation before the parties are allowed to request that the Judge decide the issues in their case. Mediation is an important part of the process in family law cases, as it allows the parties control over the outcome of their case. If a mediation agreement is reached, it is because both parties found it acceptable. The issues that need to be resolved in family law cases are highly personal, and it can be uncomfortable to have a Judge dictate a resolution regarding the most intimate parts of your life.
The Role of the Family Law Mediator
The mediator is a third-party neutral that cannot provide legal advice during the mediation process. While the mediator will challenge the position of each party, the mediator does not provide advice or a recommendation as to whether the settlement offer is a good offer or a bad offer. Typically, the mediator will either be a family law attorney or a former judge that has experience in family law matters. While the mediator will not offer legal advice, his or her experience will allow the mediator to expose the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s positions prior to proceeding to trial, which will hopefully assist in facilitating a settlement.
The Role of Your Family Law Attorney at Mediation
Your attorney cannot tell you whether to accept or reject a settlement offer, as the right to settle always belongs to the client. However, your attorney should be able to advise you as to potential outcomes at trial. In most cases, your attorney will be able to advise you as to your best and worst day in court. This allows you to weigh your options, the cost of proceeding to trial, and the probability of success when making a decision as to whether to resolve your case at mediation.
Confidentiality of Family Law Mediation
All settlement offers and discussions at mediation are confidential and inadmissible in any subsequent legal proceeding. The purpose of confidentiality at mediation is so that the parties are free to make settlement offers and discuss their case without the fear that their statements will be used against at trial or a subsequent court hearing. For example, if one party offers to settle a case for $100,000 at mediation and the offer is rejected, the other party cannot disclose the settlement offer to the trial judge or any other party. If one party discloses settlement offers or discussions from mediation, he or she may be subject to sanctions.