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Can my friends and family attend mediation with me?

No, they cannot.  As we discuss elsewhere on our Tampa Family Law Attorney blog, mediation is required in all Tampa Family Law matters regardless of whether it is a divorce matter, post judgment issue or paternity case.   There are two types of mediation – public, through a mediator at the courthouse, and private, through a privately retained mediator.  Public mediation is obviously cheaper than private mediation.

Mediation is a confidential process, where the parties are not able to disclose what occurred outside

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of the bounds of mediation.  This is obviously, so the parties can mediate without fear of their prior offers being used against them in front of the Court at a later hearing.   This permits the parties to mediate more effectively since they have no fear of the above-referenced issue.  Obviously, the presence of a non-party would violate the mediation.

This confidentiality has a few limitations though.  First, if the parties disclose future crimes or child abuse, the mediator must disclose it.  This is obviously pretty rate.  The most common disclosure though is when one party agrees for the mediator to disclose the fact to the other party.  This is extremely critical to a successful mediation occurring because it permits the mediator to develop and nurture a successful dialogue between the parties.  A good mediator will work to develop the trust of the parties and more importantly, a strong mediator will demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the case to each party.  This is the most effective way to resolve a case successfully for the parties.

Our Tampa Family Law Attorneys discusses mediation and effective mediation strategies extensively elsewhere on our blog. As we have told countless folks, a well-thought out mediation strategy can save tens of thousands of dollars later in legal fees and other payments, if you have questions concerning these issues, please do not hesitate to contact our Office.  We offer free consultations in these matters.   If you would like to contact one of our Tampa Family Law Attorneys, we offer three convenient means to contact them.  First, you can use the free, secure chat box in the lower right hand corner of our website.  Secondly, you can use the “contact us now” link in the upper right hand corner of our website.  Lastly, we have folks standing by twenty-four (24) hours a day waiting for your telephone calls to connect you with one of our Tampa Family Law Attorneys.  We look forward to hearing from you.