Frequently Asked Questions—Understanding Mediation and Divorce

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In order to make your mediation session as comfortable as possible, we’ve included the answers to some our most frequently asked questions concerning Sarasota divorce and marriage mediation. Read through the following information and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns.

1. How long does it take using mediation to get a divorce?

It all depends on the couple and the complexity of what needs to be resolved.

A couple with a long term marriage, several pieces of real estate, business ownership, and/or children will take longer than a couple married for a short time with none of the above. A short dissolution can take place in 2-3 months, an average dissolution 5-7 months and a longer dissolution 9 months to a year or longer. Mediation most always takes significantly less time than a dissolution with attorneys and the courts involvement.

If you are dealing with a foreclosure, short sale, bankruptcy, a move, a job change, a health issue or children’s concerns, consider that it may add time to get everything resolved.

2. If you use mediation, do you have to have attorneys also?

No, you do not have to have attorneys. You are always entitled to have an attorney if you desire prior to, during the mediation process or to have one review your agreement prior to signing it. If you have a legal question, at some point, you might want to pay for an hour of an attorney’s time but you can start with mediation to see what you can agree to and use attorney’s and the courts if you can’t agree or for a few items that may not be agreed to in mediation. It is a requirement in Florida that you mediate prior to taking a case before a judge for a decision.

The majority of our clients, don’t retain attorneys, because they don’t want the divorce process to be adversarial or expensive. It is not the attorney’s, per say, that makes it adversarial, it is the system, but it is a personal choice and also depends on your situation. Often times it is due to lack of knowledge that mediation is even an option, that causes someone to retain an attorney, but once they get educated about the advantages of the mediation process, they don’t see the need for an attorney.

3. Can we use mediation for a separation?

Yes, you may want to start with a temporary agreement to determine how you want to operate your expenses and co-parenting during the divorce process. There is no legal separation in the state of Florida, but there are reasons that couples are looking for an interim agreement which will help stabilize the family and finances during the separation and divorce process.

4. Will mediation help us with Child support and children’s issues?

Yes. We will help you with all that pertains to your children, including child support and the parenting plan and the class that you have to attend. We believe in maintaining the integrity of the family unit, mother, father and children while assisting the couple to separate and redefine the family relationship during the divorce process. We see the family as our client and work diligently to provide the support and guidance necessary , so as not to disrupt the children any more than is necessary and to build trust between the husband and wife so that they can create an agreement that they feel is fair and that each can abide by for the benefit of each other and their children.

5. How do we determine Spousal Support (Alimony)?

For those that need this, we employ a process called divorce financial analysis using sophisticated software to help you determine what is fair and reasonable. Zollinger Mediation is not a lawyer, judge or arbitrator, so we do not make decisions for you but we educate you so you can make healthy decisions for yourself and your family. We will help you by coming up with possible solutions and help you both to think outside the box and to appreciate and understand each other’s perspectives while working within the guidelines of the law.

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