The Role of Mediation In Florida Child Custody

The child custody laws in Florida have changed significantly in the past few years. As a divorced parent looking to file for child custody (now known as shared parental responsibility), it is important you familiarize yourself with these new laws before proceeding to the court of law.

Replacing the term “child custody” with “shared parental responsibility” or “majority time-sharing,” was a deliberate effort to better explain what happens after the divorce. Neither party is a custodian of the child; rather both parties have a ‘set time’ to spend with the child or children.

While that sounds like a walk in the park, in reality, it can actually turn into a non-stop battle between some parents as they compete for more time. Through mediation, both parties reach a compromise (a win-win situation) without having to face each other in court all over again.

The role of mediation, basically, is to help resolve the win-lose disputes during pick up and drop off into a win-win situation for both parties.

An expert, sometimes an attorney, acts as a mediator (a neutral third-party) in the dispute. He is saddled with the responsibility of going back and forth between parties until a compromise is attained.

Make no mistakes, the mediator is not a lawyer of either party. Each party is still entitled to his or her attorney. The mediator is that person who brings the request of the other party to you and takes yours to the other party until a level ground is reached. After which, the resolution is made known to a Judge.

This helps save the time you would have spent going from one court schedule to the next.

How Can I Get a Mediator?

There are two ways one can get a mediator. You could either hire a private mediator or the court provides a mediator. Although the cost of hiring a private mediator may be slightly higher than a court-provided mediator, it is still the preferred option for most parents. Why? Because they are usually goal-oriented, and they tend to devote more time to the case.

What Are the Issues Discussed With Mediators?

Any topic that you may have originally discussed in court can also be brought up and handled through the mediator. Remember the goal is to draft a good plan that is tailored to meet your child’s best interest so the topics you wish to address should be about the well being of the child. Examples include the best visitation arrangement possible, drop off and pick up arrangements, parental communication with each other and with the child, how to split the uncovered medical and dental expenses, the amount of life insurance that will be provided for the child, sharing future unexpected costs, etc.