In many civil cases, a judge will order mediation before the case goes to trial. Is this a useful tool? Or is it a waste of time and money?
It all depends on the case whether mediation is going to help or not. Many times a case is an “all or nothing” kind of case. Mediation is not going to help in a case like that. An example would be an eviction or foreclosure.
But in other cases, such as a divorce, mediation can be very helpful, as long as both sides are willing to compromise. Of course it only will work if both sides are willing to give a little to get a little.
Sometimes timing can be a factor on whether or not mediation is an option. In a divorce, for example, personal hurt might get in the way. The old saying “hell hath no fury” may not be that far from the truth. It may take time and frustration to budge one or both parties in a messy divorce case.
But in a case such as a civil suit for damages, mediation can be a good thing. Sometimes in the interest of getting on with their lives, the parties may settle on a number both can live with.
Sometimes if a judge orders mediation, an option might be to defer. This can be done if filed within 15 days of the order in Florida. Deferring might give parties time to cool down or time to gather more information to help their case.
It may be the case that the two sides are so far apart that mediation is just a complete waste of time. In these cases, it is more of a hindrance than a help. In such cases it may be in the parties best interest to file a motion to dispense with mediation.
Mediation can be a good thing in some cases, but it is not for everyone. Sometimes it is used too often for anyone’s good.