What is Pro Se Divorce Mediation?
In a pro se divorce mediation, neither party is represented by an attorney, although both parties may seek legal advice before a mediation or can elect to have an agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing.
The benefits of Pro Se Divorce Mediation
Given the high costs of divorce litigation and the concern about its impact on a couple’s children, many couples are opting for pro se divorce mediation. Pro se divorce mediation is also an alternative for couples with no children or whose children are past the age of majority. Pro se divorce mediation can be an effective way of reaching a settlement to all issues, including, time sharing and child support, property distribution and alimony. In reaching a divorce agreement without going to Court and disputing the issues, couples are able to save much needed financial resources and are also able to keep their children out of what could otherwise become an emotionally difficult situation.
Pro Se Divorce Mediation is cost effective
Pro se divorce mediation is becoming a popular alternative to the Court process, which is expensive, time consuming, emotionally draining and often does not achieve the desired result. It is cheaper to hire one mediator than for the parties to hire two lawyers. A litigated divorce can cost ten times more than parties will spend on mediation. Even cases that settle prior to trial are far more costly, with the parties paying 30 -40% more and generally not achieving a more beneficial settlement than they would have reached at mediation.
Pro Se Divorce Mediation is less time consuming
Many people will be surprised to learn how long the divorce process takes when the Court is involved. Due to the large numbers of divorces filed in Dade and Broward Counties, parties can wait months for anything to happen. The parties must wait on the judge's availability and often grow frustrated with the lack of progress and seemingly endless delays.The parties can also get caught up in the discovery process, or in Court Ordered status conferences, which are time consuming and expensive.
In the pro se divorce mediation process, the parties can take control by setting their own mediation timetable. Many divorce cases where there are neither significant assets nor children involved can be resolved in one mediation session. Some matters may require additional sessions. However, in pro se divorce mediation, the parties have the ability to work with their own schedules as opposed to being at the mercy of the crowded court system.
Pro Se Divorce Mediation Results in greater satisfaction
In pro se divorce mediation, the parties have the ability to make their own decisions regarding what they wish to do with their children, property and other assets. The pro se divorce mediation process affords the parties a great deal of flexibility in working out an agreement that suits their particular needs.
In general, mediated divorce agreements tend to be more comprehensive, allow for a more flexible time sharing schedule with children and a lower rate of litigation over issues down the road.
IS PRO SE DIVORCE MEDIATION RIGHT FOR YOU?
ASK YOURSELF IF YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WOULD LIKE TO:
Decide for yourselves issues such as time sharing with your children.
Save money by not having to each hire an attorney.
Avoid the costly, time consuming and emotionally draining litigation process.
Reach an resolution that benefits your children and yourselves and one that will allow you to remain on amicable terms and be effective co-parents.
I am a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and a Family Law Mediator. I am also a Collaborative Divorce Professional and a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. As a mediator and in my practice as a divorce attorney, I focus on facilitating settlement of divorce issues and reducing the impact divorce has on children. I have assisted many pro se divorcing couples in reaching agreements that benefit both parties.
We have a flexible appointment schedule to accommodate your work and child-rearing schedules. Evening and weekend appointments are available.
My role of as a Pro se divorce mediator
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party helps a couple resolve all issues relating to their divorce. Although I am an attorney, I cannot provide legal advice as a mediator. I cannot and do not represent either or both parties. I also cannot act as a judge or arbitrator and cannot tell either side what to do. Instead, the mediation process allows the parties to create their own settlement. As a mediator, I can help provide suggestions and work with you to resolve all issues in dispute.
As a mediator, I can do the following:
1. Assist you with reaching an agreement concerning all issues relating to your divorce. We can address issues such as property, visitation, time sharing and support.
2. Assist you with creating a flexible time sharing arrangement with both parents and their children.
3. Assist with the preparation of the pleadings which will be filed with the Court, including a child support guidelines worksheet.
4. Prepare the child support forms for you based on information you provide.
5. Explain to you how to file these papers.
Please note that I cannot do the following:
1. If you select me to mediate your divorce, I will not be able to answer any legal questions concerning your rights to property, alimony, child support or anything else of a legal nature. For example, I cannot tell you whether one party is entitled to keep the marital home, receive alimony or what a Judge would do in a particular situation.
2. I cannot tell you what either of you would be entitled to or what a Judge would order you to do.
3. Because a mediator must be neutral and cannot represent either party, I cannot consult with one or both of you prior to the mediation to discuss whether you need legal advice. Nor can I discuss the facts and circumstances with either party prior to an initial conference.
How the Pro se divorce mediation process works
In order to mediate your divorce, both you and your spouse must agree that you want to proceed in this manner. If you are both in agreement that you want to attend mediation, please call our office and we will schedule an initial meeting. Both you and your spouse must attend this meeting. As a mediator, I am a neutral party and the trust of both of you is very important to the mediation process. Because of this, I cannot meet with only one person and I cannot discuss with either of you alone the facts and circumstances prior to our meeting together.
We will schedule an initial meeting. At this meeting, we will go over a list of the issues that need to be addressed. I will also provide both of you with financial affidavits which need to be filled out by you prior to the mediation conference. This is a good time to “weed out” any issues which may require legal advice. One or both of you may feel the need to seek a consultation with an attorney on one or more issues and, after receiving legal advice concerning these issues, can proceed to a mediation conference. In addition, we use this initial meeting to determine whether there is any additional information the parties will want to obtain before the mediation conference. Following the initial conference, we will schedule a time and date for the mediation conference.
At the mediation conference, we will discuss all the issues pertaining to your children, property, debts and any other matters you deem necessary to resolve in the context of your divorce. We will schedule additional mediation conferences as needed. If an agreement is reached, we will prepare a marital settlement agreement for you and will provide this document along with the other pleadings which will need to be filed with the Court.