In most cases, mediation is a decision made by both spouses as an alternative to divorce court. However, there are instances when a judge can choose to send a couple to mediation, which is referred to as court-ordered mediation.
Court-ordered mediation usually occurs when spouses must resolve child custody, visitation, or support issues. Judges tend to view these issues as more effectively resolved when the parents work together to achieve a solution. Children are sensitive to divorce and because mediation is generally less conflicted and moves faster, it may be easier on the kids.
How is court-ordered mediation different than private?
Court-ordered mediation is usually sponsored by the court, meaning the involved parties are required to go and to pay a nominal fee. The mediation is conducted by a Court employee and usually held at the courthouse. Furthermore, a report is usually sent back to the Court about whether an agreement was reached or not, but it is a confidential process.
Private mediation is an alternative option to resolve child custody and support issues along with financial issues and property division. Spouses and their attorneys choose a mediator they feel comfortable with and are required to pay the necessary fee. Like court-ordered mediation, private mediation is confidential and the Court will only receive a report from the mediator if there is a pending case and the report will only notify the Judge whether there was a successful agreement or not. Private mediation, while much more expensive, usually increases the chances of the parties reaching a resolution because the private mediator can typically devote more time to each mediation session.
Is there ever a time court-ordered mediation isn't beneficial?
As successful as mediation is, it is not guaranteed to work for everybody. Couples with a history of child abuse, domestic violence, or mental illness are generally not considered candidates for court-ordered mediation. Mediation requires spouses to work together and when one spouse tends to dominate the other, mediation can end very poorly.
A couple may put forth an effort to try mediation, only to find themselves unsatisfied with the outcome. The court can then step in and resolve the divorce issues outside of mediation.
No two couples are the same and what works for one may not work for you and your spouse. If the court does order mediation, try your hardest to work together, particularly for the sake of your children. Our firm would be happy to help you navigate this process and work toward a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Schedule your free consultation with our Daytona Beach mediation attorneys today!