One of the most intimidating things that pro se (unrepresented) parties have to do during a Florida Dissolution of Marriage case is to appear in court before Family Law Judge and have to answer specific questions. Most pro se parties have never been in a courtroom before as a party to a case; so just walking through the courtroom doors can increase a person’s level of anxiety. Then when the Family Law Judge adorned in a black robe, whose seat is elevated above the rest of the people in the courtroom, tells the Bailiff (who is normally in uniform and has a firearm on his or her belt) to call your case that level of anxiety rises.
The parties’ tensions start to mount as the Judge begins to ask questions of the Husband and the Wife. The courtroom setting is very foreign to most people – even though you may watch legal related shows, it is not the same until you are the person being “grilled” so to speak. When a person is under this type of pressure, it is understandable that he or she may stumble over their words when answering a question.
One thing that a Florida Family Law Judge will do in your case that should not make you nervous is when he or she signs an “Order of Referral to Family Law Mediation”. So, what does this mean? This “Order of Referral” requires both parties to attend a mediation where they can attempt to resolve all their issues in a Dissolution of Marriage case in an informal setting that does not have the formalities of a courtroom.
Once the “Order of Referral” is signed, the parties must select a mediator, such as Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc., and schedule a date and time for a mediation conference. If you choose to mediate your case with Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. our office will make sure that both parties complete and file a notarized Family Law Financial Affidavit Form 12.902 and comply with Mandatory Disclosure as required by Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.285 prior to the date that mediation is scheduled.
Mandatory Disclosure is the process whereby financial information is supposed to be automatically disclosed by the parties when filing a divorce or other family law case. The purpose of Rule 12.285 is to ensure that each party will be fully informed about the financial circumstances of the other party prior to any settlement of the case through mediation or trial.
In preparing for a mediation, our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. review the court file in order to attempt to understand the full range of possible outcomes of your case. At the onset of mediation, our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators try to calm both parties nerves.
Once the parties appear at mediation our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators will have one party (usually the Petitioner – that is the person who filed the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage) outline the issues in your case. Then, the other party will be asked whether he or she agrees with the issues that have been outlined.
If there is a dispute as to the issues, this is where the Family Law Financial Affidavit and especially Mandatory Disclosure become important. The financial documents that each party provided can be used by our mediators to assist the parties in resolving their different views as to the issues.
If you have any questions about mediation, please contact Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc.