What Decisions Are Made During The Mediation Process?
The mediation process is one that is often times chosen by people who want to get a divorce but do not want to go through the divorce in a courtroom. Mediation is cheaper and usually takes less time than a traditional divorce that occurs in a court of law. Throughout the mediation process, many decisions are made including settlements, child custody and child support, spousal support and equitable distribution. The marital property that was acquired during the course of the marriage must be divided through equitable distribution, which does not automatically mean that the assets will be split in half between the couple. One person can acquire more of the assets than another person depending on each individual circumstance. Assets generally include any real estate property, stocks, marital funds or anything else the couple may share ownership of. What also needs to be divided is separate property that was acquired before the period of time in which the couple was married, but generally each person keeps their own assets as long as they were from before the marriage began and are in their own name.
Another decision that is made during the series of meetings that take place throughout mediation is which parent will become the custodial parent and spend the majority of time with any children that the spouses may have together. What comes with a child custody agreement is a child support agreement. The non-custodial parent, or the parent that spends less than 50 percent of the time with the children is required to pay child support which contributes to the needs of the children. Child support payments are determined in Florida by combining the parent’s net incomes and determining how much money is needed to provide for the child.
The other type of support payments that may be granted during mediation are alimony payments or spousal support. Alimony payments are sometimes given to one spouse to ensure that they are financially supported in the same way they once were before the divorce. For example, spousal support can assist a person who did not work outside the home during the course of the marriage and can’t really support themselves now that they have gotten divorced. They can use this money to go back to school and work towards a new career path until they can financially support themselves a few years down the road.
Judith Goldberg is an experienced Boca Raton mediator serving Palm Beach and Broward County, Florida. If you need a compassionate mediator to guide you through your family law matter, contact our Boca Raton office for a free consultation.