Chadwick M. Layton, Esq.[i]
Harvey Waddell & Layton, P.A.
Mediation is an important step in the divorce process. The process of mediation is a valuable tool that provides the spouses the opportunity to make difficult compromises which can result in a final marital settlement agreement.
The benefits of mediation in divorce are vast, they include empowering the spouses and their legal counsel to come up with creative solutions and settlement terms to allow both spouses to receive a fair settlement. The settlement agreement is often times a good representation of what is most important to each spouse and areas where they are willing to compromise.
While neither side should expect to check off every box in their pre-mediation goal list, as is true with most negotiations in life, well prepared spouses should expect achieve their top four goals in mediation.
The mindset that we encourage our clients to approach mediation with is not to win, but instead, to define those goals that are most important to them and focus on how we achieve those goals.
At mediation, the spouses and their trained legal professionals should work together in an informal manner to achieve a fair settlement agreement.
This process not only allows the spouses to avoid costly litigation, it also provides the benefit for each spouse to be involved in determining what their final settlement agreement will look like. Mediation provides closure. If done correctly, it will also provide the peace of mind to each spouse that the final terms of the divorce were properly negotiated by a legal professional.
The fear of an arbitrary ruling by a judge that may not properly address the goals and concerns of either spouse is avoided.
Engaging in a meaningful divorce mediation stands to save time, money and emotional costs. Prior to mediation, substantial work must be done to clearly define the legal and factual issues of the marriage. Counsel should work to define what a fair resolution may look like under these facts, finances of the marriage and the law.
Once a settlement agreement is reached, legal counsel should file pleadings with the court to request that the settlement agreement be ratified by a Judge.
The benefits of preparing for and participating in a meaningful mediation conference early on in the divorce process pays substantial dividends to all parties involved.
The law firm you choose in divorce should match your goals for divorce.
[i] Chadwick M. Layton is a partner and shareholder at Harvey Waddell & Layton, P.A., located in downtown Lake Worth.
Mr. Layton is also a member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section and the Susan Greenberg Family Law American Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches,
101 North J Street, Lake Worth
Phone (561) 585-4631