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Pro Se Divorce Mediation

     Nobody goes through life planning on going through divorce, but many people still experience it at least once in their life. Because of its unexpectedness, divorce sometimes forces or compels couples to be impulsive and emotional, thus making rash unwise decisions that threaten the future not only their children's future but finances as well.

Not many married couples in Florida know it, but it is possible to go through divorce without involving lawyers. If you and your spouse are willing to work together to minimize your losses both financially and emotionally, then the best alternative for you is Divorce Mediation. We refer to this type of alternative dispute resolution as "Pro Se" Divorce Mediation.

Litigation typically results in severely damaged relationships because it creates oppositions of husband against wife, and mother against father. Pitting one party against the other seems to be the legal system's unfortunate consequence. Though this may be an effective way to make decisions in civil or criminal cases, we believe it certainly is not an appropriate resolution for a family in crisis. The cost of resolving a marital dispute through the legal system has risen over the years, with each spouse often paying $350-500 in attorney fees. Hard earned marital assets that can better be used for you and your children go to waste when you add the out of pocket costs, filing fees, witness subpoenas, court reporter fees and transcripts fees.

You and your spouse, with the assistance of an impartial mediator, can make decisions that affect you and your children's lives in a non-adversarial process - that's the beauty of mediation. The agreement you arrive at forms the basis for an uncontested divorce so it must be acceptable to both parties. A family mediator's experience and assistance trump that of opposing divorce attorney so couples facing divorce are strongly urged to consider retaining a mediator first before taking the divorce to court.

In a Pro Se Mediation, all of your financial and parenting plan (for co-parenting your children) are described in detail in a document called a Marital Settlement Agreement. The mediators prepare this, as well as other forms needed for an uncontested divorce. Although they fill out the forms, it is strongly encouraged for the couple to have their attorney review the documents prior to signing them and filing them with the court.

The majority of Pro Se Mediation cases involve two or three meetings, which in turn, runs from one to three hours each. More complex issues and personalities involved in the case usually mean a longer process and more sessions. Another good thing about this process is that the couple determines the schedule and pace of the sessions, unlike litigated divorce cases. If necessary, some mediators can work on weekends and evenings, and many of them do individual phone or email consultations, all at the couple's convenience. Pro Se Mediation not only ensures a speedy and cost-effective process, it also deals with hot-button personal subjects in a private and confidential setting of the mediator's office.

Article Source:

Karen D. Sacks is a licensed Mental Health Counselor & Lori Day worked in the Florida Department of Children and Families before joining Center for Rational Solutions (CRS). They are both certified by the Florida Supreme Court as Family Mediators & Parenting Coordinators. Visit or for more info.

Posted on 2013-12-31, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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