Divorce Mediation Services
Most of us would prefer life without divorce. Unfortunately, this is not the reality of our times. Through this difficult process, Mediation can provide an alternative way to handle the disputes that inevitably arise, offset the high cost of attorneys, and empower the participants in creating satisfactory solutions. Mediation can be an efficient and effective method to create and/or modify their marriage settlement agreement and remain a family after divorce.
Prompted by his interest in working with families transitioning through divorce, Richard Stout became certified in 1995 by the Florida Supreme Court as a Divorce Mediator, a Juvenile Dependency Mediator, and a County Mediator. He has been under contract with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court since 1996, and has actively participated as a mediator in all matters regarding divorce for over 1000 divorce cases in Central Florida.
An Overview of the Divorce Mediation Process
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce Mediation offers the parties involved a forum for resolving issues with alimony, distribution of property and child custody before going to court. By reaching a settlement during the mediation process, the uncertain outcome of a trial by a judge is avoided. In mediation a third neutral party, the mediator, listens to both sides equally and encourages a consensus that results in resolution. The process is informal, yet completely confidential.
The Mediation Process
The parties directly involved in the divorce and their respective attorneys are permitted to attend a mediation conference. Additional interested parties may attend if both sides are in agreement. Each party is then given the opportunity to present his or her issues and concerns, along with any supporting documentation, without interruption. The parties then attempt to reach an agreeable settlement.
Richard Stout maintains a minimum time allowance of three hours.
The Advantages of Family/Divorce Mediation
All parties are able to actively participate in the mediation process, and are empowered to create mutually workable solutions during and following the dissolution of marriage. Some benefits include:
- Immediate resolution
- Personal involvement in the outcome of the mediation
- Complete confidentiality in an informal setting
- Avoiding preparation for a trial
- Avoiding the expense of a trial or conflicted divorce with attorneys
- Avoiding the cost of retainer fees which are required by attorneys
The Mediator is a neutral third party certified by the Supreme Court of Florida. He/she does not provide legal advice. The Mediator is present to facilitate the process of settlement, to suggest possible resolutions and is completely impartial.
What happens if an Agreement is reached?
When a mutually acceptable agreement is reached between both parties, the Mediator assists in preparing a document which reflects the conditions that have been agreed upon. It is the responsibility of all parties to carefully review the agreement for accuracy in all matters. Under no circumstances should a participant sign anything under duress of any kind. The final document is signed by both the Petitioner and the Respondent, and each party is given a copy.
The signed agreement is submitted to a judge for approval.
What happens if an Agreement is not reached?
In the event the parties are unable to resolve issues involving their divorce within the mediation conference, each party is then able to seek trial where a judge will determine their resolutions.
The Scope of Confidentiality
All information obtained during a mediation conference is confidential, except that which may be obtained by other methods or any new allegations of child abuse or neglect. This information cannot be used if a case goes to trial, nor can the Mediator who facilitates the conference testify on behalf of either party.
The Cost of Mediation
Mediation conferences are scheduled for an allotted minimum time of three hours. Each party shall pay an equal share of the $175/per hour fee at the conclusion of the conference, regardless of whether an agreement is reached.
Please call 407-323-0027 or email if you have questions, or wish to schedule a mediation with our office. Conferences may be conducted in our Orange or Seminole County locations by appointment and upon an engagement of a statement of agreement.
For more information visit
Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida and select Programs and Services, Dispute Resolution Services and then Mediators. To verify the qualifications of this or any mediator, visit Florida State Courts at Court Programs and select Mediator Search.