It is seldom easy to settle a dispute. Even small issues can often require a lot of time and effort. I am dedicated to establish celebratory relationships with the participants from the onset. As a mediator, it is my job to help the participants focus on the same goal of settling the dispute, the mediation process is more likely to be successful.
I am qualified to employ a wide range of strategies and techniques to assist the parties in negotiating a dispute. I will also take responsibility to the mediation process and to the courts.
What is Mediation and Why Should You Mediate?
Mediation services can alleviate long standing disputes and avoid unpleasant confrontations that can ruin relationships. Mediation can be used in conjunction with other professional services like attorneys, collection agencies, and public adjusters with minimal expense and hassle.
Chapter 44, Florida Statutes, defines mediation as a “process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. Mediation is informal and non adversarial processes with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement, in mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.” Section 44.1011(2) Florida Statutes.
Mediation is the process where people try to work out or settle their differences with the help of a trained impartial person, called a mediator – usually with the assistance of their respective legal counsels. The parties meet with the mediator in private sessions, sometimes called a caucus to discuss confidential matters. At times, the parties may meet individually with the mediator. Together the parties and the mediator identify the problems, and consider possible solutions. If the parties reach mutually acceptable solutions, an agreement is written and signed at the end of the mediation. If one or more parties do not live up to the term of the agreement, the court can enforce the terms. Research indicates that mediated agreements have a higher compliance rates than those ordered by a judge.
Mediation services are much needed in today’s difficult financial markets. Mediation is an efficient tool to use prior to or in conjunction with the traditional trial in the court litigation process. In addition to saving both time and money, it can be more flexible and less frustrating. The court system in Florida is backed up with countless lawsuits that can be settled if the parties took the time to work it out on their own with the help of a neutral third party. In a large percentage of cases, mediation can be arranged on short notice. While pre-suit mediation is encouraged to reduce the costs, time and stresses of litigation; mediation can be used to settle cases anytime prior to or during litigation – and sometimes even after judgment is rendered. Even if the parties are not able to settle the dispute during mediation, the process can still be beneficial since the key issues would most likely have been clearly identified. In addition, mediation can take place in any mutually-acceptable location rather than in one assigned by the court.
Alternative dispute alternatives have been around in Florida for over 25 years, starting with the creation of the first citizen dispute settlement (CDS) center in Dade County in 1975. Since then, mediation and arbitration have grown as the legislature and judiciary have created one of the most comprehensive court-connected mediation programs in the country. The court infrastructure in Florida was incapable of dealing with the large influx of people into the state. The courts were becoming flooded with lawsuits, and it became apparent that either they would have to build more courts or come up with another way to deal with the mounting number of cases. Mediation provides this alternative to the court processes.