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Can you be ordered to mediate in Florida?

Yes, you can absolutely be ordered to mediate your disputes in Florida, however, you cannot be court ordered to agree at mediation. If you and your ex cannot come to a middle ground and find terms you can even begrudgingly live with, your mediation can result in no agreement, also called impasse. There is nothing wrong with an impasse, it happens sometimes. The judge does not take a dim view of those who are unable to settle at mediation, however, it is recommended that you spend a few hours and try very, very hard to see the other’s point of view. When you settle at mediation, your case usually ends more quickly, and is less expensive and less emotionally stressful than if you had gone to trial. In Miami-Dade, you have the option to choose between working with a private mediator or a court-funded mediator. Each have their advantages, with court mediators usually being less expensive, but often less experienced and skilled at settling cases. Mediators are skilled and have been trained in helping couples meet in the middle, nonetheless, as in every industry, some are better than others. I believe in early mediation, as the longer the wait, the uglier things usually get, and then, the middle is harder to get to for both sides. Get as many references as possible before choosing the first mediator that comes along, and whenever possible, have a written outline. In preparing my own clients for mediation, I ask them to take the following steps:
1. Create three charts on paper
2. Label each: Your Best Day in Court; Your Worst Nightmare: a Middle ground.
3. Write out what life would fit into each category, considering more than just finances. This will be kept to yourself.
4. Now imagine what your ex is writing down. Will her middle look something like yours? Think about her motivations and consider what you can give up to help her achieve her goals. Consider what you can ask her to give up in exchange.

5. Arrive at mediation having eaten and had a full nights sleep. Pray, mediate, exercise, listen to music or do whatever it is that calms you right before arriving at the mediator’s office. Put your best foot forward, knowing that mediation day can be the day that many fears and stresses can be laid to rest, and your new life can begin.

6. Listen carefully to the mediator’s instructions and rules.

7. Have an open mind.

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