Mediation is a great way to resolve your case, especially in the Family Law arena due to the personal and emotional content. Too often, parties show up at the mediation without proper preparation and it is a wasted opportunity to resolve all or some aspects of your case. It is very important to meet with your attorney to discuss what could happen at the mediation so you can be prepared to make a decision. Mediation is not a time to collect information and think about what you want to do to resolve your case; if you leave a mediation without an executed agreement, you will not have an agreement at all. You cannot “think about it,” because an offer is only good at the mediation. Do cases settle post mediation? Yes, but the best use of your time is to be prepared for the mediation, and to settle your matter at the mediation so you have a resolution and can start the healing process. Some cases can have a two- or three-day mediation and an agreement after the first day is unlikely; however, a successful mediation, no matter how many days it is scheduled, does takes preparation.
Before mediation, you should know what the best and worst scenarios would be if your case went to trial. What is the court likely to give you on your “best day” and what would the best day in court be like for the other parent (this will be your worst outcome)? These scenarios will give you a reasonable range of possibilities at the mediation.
Mediation can become overwhelming or stressful, so you should have your goals for settlement outlined in a table or check sheet, that way if the process starts moving faster than you anticipated, you can go over your check sheet to be sure you are not missing important issues. You should be willing to compromise on issues that are less important to you, and focus on the issues that are more important to you; more specifically, do not concentrate on what the other party is getting, concentrate on what items on your check sheet are accomplished in your favor. An agreement that is good for you may have some benefits to the other side as well; however, this is still a positive outcome, and focusing on what the other person may be “getting” can take the focus off of your own goals on your check list.
Camy B. Schwam-Wilcox is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator, which helps with the process when she is representing you in your case, or you can utilize her services as a mediator, there are two conference rooms at our office to ensure adequate space for breakout sessions or caucuses.
Again, the best way to be prepared is to meet with your attorney a few days before, have a plan and know what your bottom line for settlement is before you commence the mediation. If you are looking for an attorney to help you facilitate this process and to give you the knowledge, power and control over your case that you deserve, let Schwam-Wilcox & Associates assist you. Let us help you facilitate an amicable solution in your family law case to reduce your stress during this very emotional time in your life.