Mediation is a process whereby the spouses (usually with counsel but not necessarily nor is it required) meet with an independent person who is usually an attorney and sometimes a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator to try and amicably resolve the particular pending issues between the parties. It is an informal process. That which is discussed at mediation is privileged by statute and rule. Most of the time mediation occurs at one of the party’s attorney’s office and is caucused meaning one spouse and his or her attorney are in one room and the other spouse and his or her attorney are in another room and the mediator goes back and forth attempting to resolve the pending issue(s). Sometimes mediation is conducted at the courthouse.
In some counties and circuits, the court and the rules require that the parties attend mediation before the court will hold a hearing on temporary relief issues. Likewise, a court will usually not schedule a final hearing (trial) for divorce until the parties have first attended mediation to try to settle all issues. If mediation is unsuccessful, the mediator will usually file a report indicating that an impasse occurred. If mediation is successful, the mediator will so advise the court in writing. If mediation is successful, an agreement is prepared at the mediation and signed by the parties.