I Received An Order Of Referral To Family Mediation – What Does That Mean?
Whether you are involved in a divorce, paternity action, are attempting to modify a custody arrangement, or are involved in another type of family law matter, you will likely end up receiving an Order of Referral to Family Mediation. Mediating a case is a lot different than going to court, so if you have never been before, read on to learn more about the process.
What is an Order of Referral to Family Mediation?
It’s important to note that an Order of Referral to Family Mediation is a court order, so it should not be ignored. Instead, recipients should be sure to pay attention to the details contained in the order regarding the specific program or terms. The order could, for instance, include an appointment with a specific mediator, or terms on which the parties must agree when choosing their own. Many contain referrals to certain mediation programs and include details about fees and each party’s responsibility for payment. In other cases, and in advance of mediation, the order will require the parties to exchange certain information, or to provide a written case summary to the mediator.
Mediation is intended to help couples reach an out-of-court agreement on family law issues, like property settlement, alimony, and child custody. At mediation, the mediator, a neutral third party, will attempt to help the parties, usually represented by their attorneys, reach a mutual agreement, which is then put in writing, filed with the court, and ratified by the judge. Mediation gives couples the chance to resolve their own issues without leaving them in the hands of a judge, who may not be familiar with a family’s particular circumstances. Mediation also leaves more room for creative problem solving and can be far less stressful and expensive than litigation.
When to Attend Mediation
Most couples who attend mediation do so after discovery has been concluded. This means that both parties will have gathered and exchanged a wide range of financial information and other documents detailing their marital estate. In most cases, mediation occurs between three and six months after the initial case is filed, but could take longer if the financial estate is extensive. Mediation can also be used to resolve temporary issues, like a timesharing schedule while the divorce is pending, or temporary support. In fact, many courts require mediation before even hearing these issues.
Reach Out to a Fort Lauderdale Divorce Mediation Lawyer for Help
Mediation is a good way for families to take control of their own legal proceedings, as it gives them an opportunity to come up with a solution that fits their specific needs. If you recently received an Order of Referral to Family Mediation and you have questions about your legal obligations, don’t hesitate to reach out to dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce mediation lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for advice. You can set up a free consultation by calling a member of our legal team at 954-945-7591, or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.