Options for a peaceful divorce

There was a time when people did not know what mediation was. It was confused with similar words, such as medication or meditation! As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family and Civil Mediator, it is good to report that the mediation process is no longer unknown. It is very often one of the first questions a potential client may ask, looking for efficient and low impact solutions to family and other legal problems, even before anything has been filed in Court.

The vision of advocating for people in difficult situations was the reason I wanted to become a lawyer, as early as in the eighth grade. My passion for representing people in Court has evolved into assisting people in solving their own issues in a more peaceful manner, whether through mediation or collaborative divorce. After many years of litigating and practicing in more traditional ways, it became clear that these processes are destructive to the participants and to their children. These methods are typically expensive, causing a drain of whatever resources the parties had.

The mediation of a family matter, such as a dissolution of marriage, allows the participants to solve their own problems with the guidance of the mediator as a neutral professional. People can attend mediation at any time and may or may not be represented by attorneys. If attorneys were not present during the mediation conferences, advice from an attorney is always recommended, including for review of any proposed agreement and before signing an agreement. Through mediation, people can get to solutions quicker and with less cost than traditional methods.

Mediation allows the parties an opportunity to explore areas of resolution in a structured and confidential setting with the goal of reaching a signed, written agreement that can be presented to the Court, on their own schedule and with privacy. If both parties want to settle their case, they will most likely be able to do so or at least make a lot of progress toward that goal.

Other resolution options toward reaching an agreement are collaborative and cooperative divorces. A collaborative divorce process is typically begun before any lawsuit is filed. Collaborative divorce allows each of the parties to be supported by their own collaborative attorneys working as a team with a neutral financial professional and a neutral mental health professional to reach a settlement. In a cooperative divorce, people work toward an agreement through one or both of them represented by an attorney.

When people learn that there are options that do not involve the more
traditional “file and fight,” many are relieved and encouraged that they can achieve their resolution in a more peaceful and efficient manner for themselves and for their children.

As Abraham Lincoln said, “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can.”

For information, Regina F. Zelonker, Esq. can be reached at (305) 804-2450 and Regina@ZelonkerLaw.com.

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