St. Petersburg Mediation Lawyer
Mediation is one method available to help parties settle a legal dispute. An alternative to litigation, mediation offers benefits in terms of time and cost savings, and it often offers better results for both parties through compromise or creative solutions that meet both sides’ legitimate needs. Mediation can be especially useful for parties in conflict who need to preserve family ties or a productive business relationship to the extent possible. Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., has experienced St. Petersburg mediators on staff, including Florida Supreme Court Certified mediators with the training and skill to represent your interests in mediation and help you achieve a satisfactory, lasting result to your family law or commercial law matter. Contact Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., to be put in touch with one of our experienced and successful St. Petersburg mediators.
Benefits of Mediation
A chief advantage of mediation is that you have the assistance of a trained mediator who can facilitate the process of resolving conflict and reaching agreement. Legal disputes can be emotionally heated, and with so much at stake, parties are often wary of sharing information or making any statements that might be seen as giving an advantage to the other side. Mediations are private and can be kept confidential, so the mediator can help the parties explore solutions without losing an edge in any litigation. The mediator can also help each party understand the interests behind the positions taken by the other side, leading to creative solutions that truly meet each party’s needs.
In mediation, the parties work together to create a solution that works for both parties. In contrast, when a matter proceeds to court, the final outcome is imposed on both parties by the judge whether they like it or not, and the result is often a win-lose proposition. In mediation, there is no risk of a negative outcome, because each party will only agree to a result that meets their needs, resulting in a win-win resolution. Trials often lead to appeals and post-judgment motions to enforce a judgment. A mediated agreement, on the other hand, is more likely to be voluntarily implemented by both parties, since they had a hand in creating the agreement and are personally invested in seeing it succeed. Parties who resolve their dispute through mediation usually exit the process without hard feelings against each other and are less likely to have future conflicts that require formal legal intervention to resolve.
Mediation is also often preferred over litigation for the savings in time and cost that it represents. It can take a year or more to schedule a trial date on a busy court’s calendar, and the parties spend the intervening months in discovery, deposing witnesses, consulting experts, preparing exhibits, and filing and arguing pre-trial motions in court. Mediation, on the other hand, can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties and usually resolved in less than one day, depending on the complexity of the issues and level of conflict. Mediation most often results in significant time and cost savings compared to litigation.
Family Law Mediation
The Pinellas County courts will order the parties into mediation in all parental responsibility cases (parenting plans and time-sharing, child support) unless there is an allegation or history of domestic violence between the parties. Parties to a divorce or child custody dispute can also choose mediation on their own as an alternative to courtroom litigation and trials. Firm partner Belinda B. Lazzara is a Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator as well as a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law. Along with other members of the firm, Ms. Lazzara is skilled and experienced in divorce mediation as well as collaborative family law, a specialized form of dispute resolution similar to mediation in some respects yet with significant distinctions.
Parties can agree to mediation as a means of resolving their civil dispute without litigation. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the parties are still free to file their case in court, often with the issues narrowed down and a better understanding of the remaining differences. Mediation might also be required by the court after a lawsuit has been filed, but before trial, if the parties have not yet attempted to resolve their case through mediation. Firm partner Walter E. Smith is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator as well as a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer and Business Litigation attorney. Mr. Smith maintains an extensive mediation practice across the spectrum of commercial and real estate matters, including business litigation and construction litigation. We can help you implement a strategy to resolve your dispute efficiently and effectively.
Call on Experienced and Successful Mediators to Address Your St. Petersburg Family Law or Business Dispute
For help with a family law or commercial law matter in St. Petersburg, call Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., to discuss submitting your dispute to mediation for a creative solution and satisfactory result.