Q. What Is Mediation?
A. Most family court cases are resolved by agreement of the parties instead of by a judge. In Florida family cases, mediation is an opportunity for the parties to meet with a neutral mediator like Meghan, each presents their side, and attempt to resolve the pending issues. It is usually the first (and sometimes last) chance for the parties to meet in an informal setting in an effort to come to an agreement on the issues in the case. Because mediation is in an informal setting, the Rules of Court (evidence and procedure) do not apply. Unlike litigation which is in the public court records, mediation is completely confidential, and the details of mediation cannot be disclosed to the court. Therefore, conversations and discussions are encouraged. We are also able to “think outside of the box” in mediation to come up with creative solutions if needed in order to reach an agreement, whereas judges generally do not have that luxury.
As an impartial mediator, Meghan’s role in mediation is to attempt to assist in resolving the unique disputes in each family case. In mediation, Meghan does not act as a representative or advocate of either party and Meghan is not allowed to give legal advice or predict the outcome of your case should it go to court or trial. Although Meghan is an experienced family law attorney, Meghan does not act in that capacity for mediation but rather is a neutral intermediary.
Mediation is required in Florida divorces, paternity and modification cases. Spouses and partners must attend Mediation after the case is filed, but spouses and partners also have the option to attend mediation before a case is filed (Pre-Suit). You can Mediate with Meghan regardless of when the case goes to mediation.
Q. What Is Pre-Suit Mediation?
A. Pre-Suit family mediation is where parents or spouses meet for mediation before they pursue a case in court. There are many advantages to Pre-Suit mediation in a family case. Pre-Suit mediation occurs before parties spend money on potentially costly litigation that can include attorney’s fees, research, discovery, depositions, expert witness fees, and other expenses. Pre-Suit mediation can be far less stressful than litigating, and the parties control the outcome of their case instead of a judge deciding the future of the family and children. Pre-Suit mediation can be less emotionally draining than a family case that drags out in court. Pre-Suit mediation can be scheduled quickly with Meghan, and often can be completed in just one day.
Q. What Happens At Mediation With Meghan?
A. Mediations with Meghan take place at Meghan’s comfortable office in historic downtown Orlando, between beautiful Lake Ivanhoe and Park Lake. As a neutral third-party mediator, Meghan’s role is to attempt to assist the parties in resolving the unique disputes in their family case. Meghan will meet with the parties either together or separately and help them work toward an agreement on the issues.
The goal of mediation is to help you fully resolve your family case. If both parties come to a mutually acceptable agreement, Meghan will prepare the agreement(s) such as a Mediated Agreement, Parenting Plan and/or Marital Settlement Agreement, which state the conditions that you have agreed upon. The parties will then sign the binding agreement(s). If the parties come to an agreement on all of the pending issues, their case could be resolved, and the parties would usually only need to obtain a final court order.
Sometimes parties are not able to fully resolve all of the issues in their case at one mediation, in which event the parties could agree to return for an additional mediation with Meghan, or the unresolved issues and disputes could be heard before a judge at a hearing or trial at a later date.
In addition to a continuation of mediation, Meghan can also Mediate modifications of original cases.
Q. What Kind Of Family Cases Does Meghan Mediate?
A. Meghan mediates all types of family cases and issues, including dissolution of marriage (divorce), paternity, child timesharing (custody), parenting plans, child support, military divorce, military paternity, same sex divorce, property division, spousal support (alimony), divorce modification, paternity modifications, motions and contempts, if appropriate.
Q. Do I Need An Attorney?
A. No. You do not have to have an attorney to mediate with Meghan. In fact, most parties going through a divorce, paternity, or other family court case in Central Florida do not hire attorneys. An advantage of mediating with Meghan is that Meghan can draw on her experiences to assist in resolving your family case via mediation and without the need for the parties to hire attorneys or engage in expensive litigation. The parties do have a right to have any mediated agreement reviewed by a lawyer before signing it, if they want.
Meghan mediates family cases in which neither party has an attorney (Pro Se) as well as family cases in which both parties have attorneys or one party has an attorney and the other does not.
Q. How Long Does Mediation Take And Will There Be Food?
A. Meghan typically reserves an entire day for each of her mediations to ensure there is plenty of time to address, and hopefully resolve, all pending issues. An average mediation lasts about five (5) hours. Of course, how long mediation will take depends on the various factors in each case, including the number of issues or disputes that are involved.
We want your mediation to be successful and comfortable. Therefore, complimentary drinks and snacks will be provided when you mediate with Meghan. If the mediation is a full day, we will provide complimentary lunch from Harry Buffalo or The Waterfront.
Q. How Much Does It Cost To Mediate With Meghan?
A. A major advantage to mediating your case with Meghan is that mediation, especially Pre-Suit mediation, costs significantly less than litigating a family case in court considering the high cost of attorney’s fees, research, discovery, depositions, expert witness fees and other fees that can add up.
To mediate with Meghan, Meghan’s fee is $225.00 per hour for the mediation conference and preparation time, with a minimum time period of two (2) hours. There is a nonrefundable deposit for the first two (2) hours in the amount of $450.00, which will reserve the scheduled mediation date. The deposit is also applied to the total preparation time and mediation conference fee. The remainder of the mediation fee is due at the conclusion of the mediation. Mediation fees do not include court costs, such as the filing fee.
Usually, the parties equally split the cost to mediate with Meghan, unless other arrangements are made in advance.
Q. We Are Ready to Mediate With Meghan. What Do We Do Now?
A. When parties are ready to attend mediation, contact mediator Meghan McShane-Davis. A mediation date with Meghan will be coordinated and once the nonrefundable deposit is received, the mediation date will be reserved, and Meghan will send the parties an Engagement Letter with further details for the mediation.
Are you having problems and need to consult?
We Work With Individuals, Couples, & Families
Divorce mediation is a dispute resolution option where married couples can handle their divorce without court or attorneys*.
This includes dividing assets and debts, and resolving child custody and child support issues.
Child Timesharing / Custody Mediation
Meditation is an option for parents that are not married who need to figure out a Parenting Plan, timesharing schedule and child support in a paternity case. Mediation allows parents to determine the best future for their children in a safe and confidential setting without court or attorneys*.
Child Support Mediation
As part of your paternity or divorce mediation resolving child timesharing and parental responsibility, we will address expenses related to the children and run child support guidelines while taking factors such as daycare & child health care costs, and applicable tax treatment into consideration.
Get In Touch
Ask a question or book an appointment below.