La'Rae H. Hendrix P.A.

Family law options include mediation for negotiating an agreement

In Florida and nationwide, collaborative law is increasingly becoming a part of the fabric of legal practice, including in the process of negotiating a divorce settlement. Many family law attorneys now embrace the use of mediation for their clients. In general, many divorcing couples who choose mediation have an improved chance of obtaining an enduring agreement for less cost. One word of caution: whether mediation is the right strategy in a particular case is something to be discussed thoroughly with one's divorce attorney prior to going in that direction.

There are some general principles for success in mediation that skilled mediation attorneys recommend. One beginning guideline is to refrain from the temptation of demonizing the other side. The converting of the other side's faults and arguments into personal hatred can stop the process before it gets off the ground. Everyone is subject to change, moderation of their views and agreeing to something, for example, that may be for the welfare of the children overall.

The mediator will steer the parties toward having more rather than less options to weave into an agreement. The greater scope of choice increases the chances for mutual acceptance of one or more terms. It is also helpful in mediation for the participant to objectify the issues instead of asserting one's inner beliefs. Thus, obtaining a professional appraisal on valuable property and accepting its objectivity encourages a reasonable and rational settlement. Sometimes, it can help to recognize what the other party's interest is in taking a certain position.

An intractable position can become negotiable when the person's underlying concerns are understood and given recognition. In addition, the client will do better by having an openness to collaborative behavior during the negotiations. For example, giving in on small points can strengthen the spirit of cooperation and even soften ill feelings across the board. Florida is a state where mediation has proved to be a strong tool for some divorcing couples. It may be worth discussing the option with a family law attorney who is experienced in the collaborative law process.

Source:, "5 tips for winning in mediation", April 1, 2018

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