When going through a difficult time in a relationship, mediation services can sometimes be a preferred solution for couples struggling to move forward and find common ground. If this sounds like an issue you are going through with your partner, you may find this article to be a helpful resource for mediation in Florida.
Mediation is the process of sitting down with a qualified mediator, or mediators, to attempt and reach a resolution. In family legal proceedings in Florida, it is required if you have children. Mediation often leads to solutions that are better for families and cost less than other traditional legal outcomes. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples have turned to virtual mediations to maintain social distancing while moving forward with their divorce or other family issues.
At Family Matters Law Group, we aim to reach lasting and beneficial agreements for the long term. Keep scrolling to learn more about the virtual mediation sessions we offer and how they can lead to favorable resolutions that cost less than traditional legal proceedings.
How to Participate in Virtual Mediations and Mediation Rules
To begin your virtual mediation with your partner or family members, you will first need a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet with internet capabilities. Ideally, the device you are using to attend the virtual mediation not only contains a microphone (this is a necessity to be heard and communicate) but also a video camera as well. Once you have your device, you will need to use a video hosting service such as Zoom or Google Meet.
To ensure both parties get the most out of the session as possible, we highly recommend that you are in a quiet space where you will not be disturbed, with a good internet connection, and a phone charger or a power source (mediations can last for an extended period). If you are an attorney attending a virtual mediation with your client, we recommend using a desktop that has an integrated camera as it will make it easier for you to share documents or your screen if you need to be able to communicate with opposing counsel that is also in the session. If you don't have access to the internet, you can dial in via a traditional telephone line. We would not recommend this, as seeing other faces and face-to-face communication helps ensure that your virtual mediation runs as smoothly as possible. We would also recommend that you have all the documents you wish to share with the other participant(s) before your mediation session in a folder so that it is ready to go when you need to present it.
Typically, a mediator will start the virtual mediation with everyone in the “room”. They will then talk about the process, procedures, fees, and how the day will be handled. The mediator will then usually break people off into separate private rooms. The people in those private rooms can discuss their issues in confidentiality and not worry that other parties will overhear them. The mediator or host can then bounce between separate virtual rooms and merge the private rooms back together when s/he feels appropriate.
If some or all of the issues can be settled during virtual mediation, your mediator can then prepare a document while everyone is virtually present with the terms of the agreement. In some instances, documents may need to be notarized and virtual notary services can be accessed for an additional fee.
Benefits of Virtual Mediations
Not only can virtual mediation be arranged quicker than traditional mediation, but there are also no additional travel expenses or time costs as all parties can participate no matter their location. While virtual mediation services do cost the same amount as in-person mediation, the cost of mediation, in general, can be drastically less expensive than court proceedings.
If you and your family are going through challenging circumstances and need expert legal guidance, Family Matters Law Group is here to help. Our skilled attorneys take each case individually and provide our clients with the patience and understanding necessary to properly handle their individual needs and goals. Contact us today to learn more about the ways we can help you and your family.