This article discusses what to expect at Port St Lucie Divorce Mediations. Most couples attending divorce mediations are attending mediations for their first time in their lives. It is stressful as your entire case may be settled at the mediation.
To ease your stress, demand that your divorce attorney, meet with you in person 2-3 days before the divorce mediation. You should be well-prepared for your mediation. Your lawyer should also prepare a brief position statement to send to the mediator at least a day before the mediation. This confidential position statement should address all issues, so nothing is missed at mediation. For example, alimony, child support, timesharing, education, where children will attend school, assets, debts, life insurance, etc. As a Port St. Lucie divorce attorney, I have the mediation position statement ready a day before I meet with my client, and then adjust it at the pre-mediation meeting. I then send the confidential mediation statement to the mediator, so the mediator understands the issues before the mediation.
Whether by Zoom, or in person, the mediator, on the day of the mediation will either give an introduction to the mediation process and his/her role that day. This typically lasts 10 – 15 minutes. On occasion, in more conflict divorces, the mediator will meet with each party separately
The parties will then be placed in separate rooms, whether in person or by Zoom. The St. Lucie County family law mediator will typically meeting first with the petitioner, the spouse that filed the divorce. This initial step will typically take between 20-30 minutes. The mediator will hear the proposal of this spouse, discuss issues, and then go into the other room with the other spouse to discuss the proposal and hear the other spouse’s position and what he/she wants. This process may take several hours. This is why it is important that you are prepared by your lawyer before the mediation. You should also bring a lunch, granola bars, etc. with you as most mediators do not take breaks for lunch because they are being paid for this time.
The mediator will take his/her notes from the meetings and work on a draft mediation settlement agreement. The mediation draft will then be copied so each party, and their attorneys, may view line by line. Oftentimes, changes are made. The spouses will then discuss the changes with the mediator. Sometimes, the divorce lawyers will meet privately with the mediator to discuss legal and other issues.
A final draft of the mediation statement with an attached parenting plan and child support guidelines worksheet, will be printed. Each party, with their attorney, will once again review every line to make sure it is correct. The spouses sign and initial each page of the mediation settlement agreement. The mediation agreement will then be sent in to the St. Lucie County family law judge to sign. About 2-3 weeks later, depending on the judge’s calendar, a final hearing will be set at the Fort Pierce courthouse (now, typically done by Zoom) where your divorce judge will sign off on a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. This hearing typically takes only 10 minutes.