Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator
Ms. Gayle Sarju has offered mediation services as a part of her law practice for several years. She has completed all requirements for the State of Florida to provide her services as a Certified Family Mediator, including the required level of education, hours of experience and high moral character.
What Does a Certified Family Mediator do?
A Certified Family Mediator provides another option instead of going to court to litigate your case. This is referred to as Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR). In this case, you talk directly to the other party through a mediator, instead of having a judge make decisions for your unique family situation.
It is the mediator’s job to work as a neutral third party to facilitate the negotiation between the disputing parties and help them work collaboratively to find a compromise that is satisfactory to both parties.
Though these responsibilities may vary, here are the basic functions of a mediator:
- Facilitate communication between the opposing parties
- Help guide them to a mutual agreement
- Hold confidentiality of each party
- Listen to the disputing parties and their legal attorneys if any
- Review documents to gather details
What are the Benefits of an ADR?
The primary reason a parent may choose to mediate rather than going directly to the court to make the decision on their family dynamic, is control. By working directly with the other party, you have more control over the outcome of your case. If you can work with a mediator, your voice will be heard, and you will have a hand in the resolution. If you do not at least attempt to settle your own case in mediation, you are at the mercy of the judge to decide the outcome.
Mediation is also a voluntary process. Parties generally chose to participate for the hope of a better outcome. And frankly, in many cases, mediation is mandatory. If the arbitration process does not produce a mutually agreeable resolution, then the parties can move their dispute to the courtroom.
In addition, although parties may not agree on all their issues, they can agree on some issues and have a judge decide only on the specific issue(s) that they disagree on.
Mediation is a confidential and private process, versus a potentially public court appearance. The parties meet in a private and neutral location with the mediator. The sessions are not recorded and any notes that are taken during the arbitration are destroyed. The parties also have the option of being in separate rooms throughout the process if their relationship is adversarial. Or a party may choose to be separated temporarily to hold private discussions with the mediator and choose what information they would like the mediator to share.
Mediation can generally be arranged and held quickly, possibly within days or weeks instead of months. This can obviously save time overall, and it can also help to intervene and short circuit escalation in the disagreement between the parties.
Mediation tends to have a high rate of compliance because the parties feel that they have been heard and have had direct input into their customized resolution. Since the mediation resolution has some amount of agreement from each party, there is more buy-in to agree to and maintain compliance with the resolution, than if it was dictated by a judge or court.
For all of the reasons listed above, mediation helps to maintain relationships. As the final resolution has been agreed to by both sides, it is a win-win for all parties involved. It may also open the doors of communication and help heal some bad feelings and give families a road map to maintain future communication. Since families are all about dynamics and relationships, mediation is often a very helpful way to reach an agreement that all parties can abide by and feel good about.
Please contact the Law Office of Gayle Sarju to schedule your mediation and let us help you make the decision that is right for you.