No matter how heated a legal conflict might be, mediation might benefit both parties by eliminating the time, cost and aggravation associated with a trial. At Joan Berry Nassar, P.A. in Melbourne, I have been certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Family Mediator from 1996 to the present and as an Appellate Mediator since 2008. These certifications require good moral character, observation of mediations within the relevant practice areas and training under an experienced mediator. My work includes cases where parties are represented by attorneys as well as those where they are not.
In mediation, a qualified, impartial person helps parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution. The mediator does not render a decision but uses this informal, non-adversarial process to promote honest discussion between parties and identify creative solutions. I am available to mediate cases involving:
This process can be especially useful in situations where emotions might be preventing the parties from reaching a compromise or where the parties will need to cooperate after the disputed issues are resolved. Mediation could be your best option if you’re looking to create a marital settlement agreement, are engaged in a parenting dispute or cannot resolve a conflict over money.
Through mediation, you can avoid the time and expense associated with going to trial while assuring that you have some control over the outcome, rather than a judge. As an experienced mediator, I can reduce obstacles to communication, assist in the exploration of alternatives and otherwise facilitate voluntary agreements resolving the dispute. The ultimate decision-making authority, however, rests solely with the parties. Mediation also gives parties the chance to maintain privacy and control the schedule rather than waiting months for the court’s schedule to open up.
If you do not have an attorney, it would be advisable to speak with one regarding your legal options and how this method of alternative dispute resolution suits your needs. In a family mediation, you will complete a financial affidavit and proposed parenting plan (if there are children) prior to the proceedings. During mediation, any issues that are in conflict may be discussed. In the event that you’re already working with an attorney, it’s best to discuss the choice of a mediator with them as they can give you valuable insight.
Mediation can result in one of three possible outcomes:
Should you be concerned about COVID exposure or proximity to the other party, mediation can be conducted by video conferencing, which includes “breakout rooms” that allow the mediator to speak with each party individually and privately.
The time involved in a mediation varies from case to case. Some have been resolved in a few hours and others may take a day or more. An hourly rate is charged, and that amount is divided equally between the parties, unless alternative arrangements are made.