Is it Necessary to Prepare for Mediation?

Throughout the course of a Florida divorce it is almost certain that the parties will attend mediation.  Mediation is often scheduled by the parties or is ordered by the court in an attempt for the parties to reach a settlement and avoid continued litigation.  During a mediation in a Florida Family law case, each party has the opportunity to have an active role in trying to reach an amicable resolution on the terms and conditions of their divorce settlement. 

Because mediation provides a party to a divorce the best possible opportunity for settlement it is highly advised that each party and their Florida family law attorney prepare as if they case will be resolved on the day of mediation.  The question of the necessity for preparing for mediation must be analyzed on a cost benefit basis and with specific goals in mind.  When analyzing the cost benefit of mediation each party must analyze the cost of not settling and facing additional expenses of litigation.  In the event a settlement cannot be reached at mediation each party will incur additional attorney fees and costs, additional hearings, further discovery, and the likelihood of an expensive final hearing or trial.

In order to avoid the additional expenses of divorce litigation each party should be prepared to immediately move forward with settlement negotiations at mediation.  The preparation includes identifying each party's goals for mediation and being fully aware of all case facts.  Preparation should include have an equitable distribution analysis prepared, proposed child support and alimony schedules completed, and having a full and complete parenting plan prepared to review and analyze with the mediator and opposing counsel.  In order to be fully prepared it is also highly recommend that each party set an office consultation with their respective attorneys in order to prepare for mediation.  By being fully prepared for mediation each party provides themselves the best opportunity to reach a full settlement and avoid the additional costs and stress of litigation.