What Factors Are Considered In Determining A Parenting Plan At Mediation?
In the establishment of a Parenting Plan, the mediator should ask the parents questions about the issues that will likely come up over the years to help elicit from them their position on a particular item or issue (i.e.: tax dependency, extracurricular activities, healthcare coverage and expenses). It is not for the mediator to make a decision in order to present a specific position to either party. If a mediator encourages one side to accept the perspective of the other, it is outside the precept of the neutrality that is a hallmark of mediation. The mediator is not there to make decisions. I do believe it’s helpful to present multiple options for a couple to consider.
Can A Mediation Agreement Be Modified After The Divorce Already Has Been Settled?
I have worked with a number of people who have the desire to modify an agreement that’s already been submitted to the courts, whether it’s modification of the settlement agreement or the parenting plan. Modification of a Parenting Plan will generally end up with a modification of child support as well because child support is to a great extent dependent upon the amounts of overnights with each party. Should the overnights or income of the parents change substantially, then child support would need to be recalculated and modified.
How Are Modifications Finalized Legally In The Case Of A Mediated Settlement Agreement?
With regards to the finalizing of modifications, I’m able to assist people throughout that process. I am able to help prepare all the paperwork required for the modification: the supplemental petition for modification and the paperwork that’s required to accompany that, including the supplemental final judgment that would be signed by the judge. Modifications can be done in a manner that keeps the two people directly involved in the decision making. For modifications, most people don’t need to make a final court appearance. It is something that may be approved by the judge without them being present.
How Can Someone Find A Good Reliable Mediator For Their Family Law Case?
All mediators, regardless of background, receive the same training and certification approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Therefore, there is a basis of commonality regarding the information with which each mediator approaches mediation, as well as the understanding of what needs to be addressed during the course of the details of a divorce.
Beyond that, I do believe a great deal of the process of mediation is a function of the relationship that can be established between myself and the two people involved. I always try to remember that no matter how amicable and congenial it seems, it is still the day these people are arranging the details of their divorce, and also the day these people are dealing with a number of emotional issues. Hopefully, a background such as mine is helpful with keeping those factors in the forefront, as opposed to coldly running through the issues that need to be addressed during a divorce as if it were just the details of a business meeting rather than the restructuring of their lives.
What Functions Do You Provide In Mediations For Couples?
I work with people from the initial phone consultation through the complete mediation process. Once all questions from both people are answered, and the decision is made to divorce by mediation, an appointment is set. We meet for usually three to four hours and address the issues that need to be addressed in the process of divorce. Those issues are generally the timesharing when there are children involved, child support, spousal support, and any asset and liability distribution. Usually, that would be accomplished in approximately four hours of time. At the conclusion of that face to face mediation, nothing gets signed. I have found that no matter who the individual is, that after several hours of focusing on these important life issues, there is a potential to not clearly recall every detail discussed. And so to avoid feeling pressured to “sign today”, we simply say goodbye. Soon after that day, I provide the parties the initial draft of their Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan to review and approve in their own timeframe. Some people also use this time prior to signing the Agreement to have an attorney review the documents.
Once they approve a draft, the other function that I perform is to provide the forms required for filing at Court. I draw up all the forms required by the Florida Supreme Court in the course of filing for divorce. I will draft the Petition to Dissolve the Marriage from one party and the Answer to the Petition from the other party, as well as all the other documents required of both parties. We will then have a final meeting, at which time I review all the documents with the parties. I have a notary come in and witness their signatures, so they don’t have to go out and search for a notary, or pay for notary services.
At that point, the fully completed mediated package that has been signed and notarized is filed with the courthouse of the county in which they lived together. and/or there’s an attorney who offers at a set fee to represent my clients on a limited basis — to file the paperwork on their behalf, and to make an appearance at the final hearing. This is particularly helpful in Orange County, where the timeframe of waiting for a final hearing is generally in excess of four months. It’s not required that anyone have an attorney but it is helpful in this county to have an attorney if one wishes for it to move forward as rapidly as possible. For our surrounding counties, the time for the scheduling of the final hearing is nominal, so attorney representation is not as helpful.
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