ROLE OF ATTORNEYS

THE ROLE OF ATTORNEYS IN PRE-SUIT DIVORCE AND FAMILY MEDIATION

Although I have devoted my career to family mediation and no longer actively practice family or any other type of law, I do remain an active member of the Florida Bar and current on the applicable law and statutory framework that would guide the court’s decision following litigation in the event the parties fail to reach a resolution through pre-suit mediation.  I do this to enable me to provide couples with this information in a neutral manner and facilitate a mediated settlement that both are satisfied with following full disclosure.  However, I cannot and will not provide legal advice at any point during this process, and will not make any effort to predict an outcome.  Furthermore, I will never seek to impose a settlement on the parties or otherwise pressure them into settlement.  Remember, the pre-suit mediation process is entirely voluntary.

 

DO YOU NEED TO HIRE ATTORNEYS?

It is my intention to save parties substantial legal expenses by engaging in pre-suit mediation and resolving all outstanding issues in a healthy and balanced manner that minimizes the trauma of divorce that exists under the best of circumstances, allowing them to obtain an uncontested divorce without hiring lawyers or even appearing in court.

 

That being said, the parties are always free to consult with separate attorneys of their choice at any time during the process for advice concerning their legal interests, rights and obligations, and the consequences of various decisions that may arise in the course of mediation.  In fact, I encourage couples to separately consult with counsel on a limited basis if they have any questions or concerns that I cannot address before making any final decisions.


The parties may also choose to retain an attorney and/or accountant on a limited basis to review the final version of the Marital Settlement Agreement, and Parenting Plan if necessary, prior to signing.

 

The law requires parties to go through mediation during contested divorce proceedings anyway, even if they ultimately hire lawyers and begin litigation, and at that point the process is no longer voluntary.  Even though mediation is frequently successful under those circumstances, the parties have often incurred substantial emotional damage and legal expenses by that stage of the proceedings.  It is therefore in both parties’ interests to make a good faith effort to mediate and get it done now, before a single document is ever filed in court.