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Can I attend family mediation before filing for divorce or a paternity case at the courthouse?

YES! Family mediation is most successful when the parties attend family mediation first. This type of mediation is called pre-suit mediation. In a pre-suit mediation, the parties work with a family mediator to create a Marital Settlement Agreement and a Parenting Plan, if needed. If the case is a paternity matter only (meaning the parties were never married), the family mediator would assist in calculating the child support and creating a Parenting Plan.  Once the necessary agreements are prepared, the parties can then go to the courthouse to open a family case.

Do I have to pay for my initial consultation?

NO! The initial consultation with Jenny Shane is at no charge. Jenny will spend a significant amount of time with one or both of the parties discussing the family issue and answering any questions that may arise.

How long does mediation take?

The typical family mediation in South Florida can take approximately 3-4 hours. However, the length of the mediation is wholly dependent upon the cooperation of the parties.  Mediations that do not involve dependent children usually take less time than those with children. Additional paperwork, such as a Parenting Plan, and a calculation of child support is needed when a couple has dependent children.

What happens if we can not agree at the mediation?

If the parties can not reach an agreement during the mediation, the parties can agree to impasse.  Impasse means no resolution was reached during the mediation. The parties will then have to ask the family law court to resolve the matter for them.  However, if the parties need additional time outside the mediation session to make decisions, they can agree to postpone the session and resume mediating at another time. Jenny Shane can also continue mediating through other means besides in person, such as over the telephone, email and text.

Do I need to hire a lawyer to attend mediation with me?

The best family law mediator will always encourage his/her clients to seek legal advice prior to attending a mediation session. However, neither party needs to have a family law attorney attend the mediation with them.  A Florida Supreme Court Certified family mediator is thoroughly trained to guide the parties through their divorce. Although the mediator can not provide legal advice to the parties, he/she is qualified to offer family law information regarding the divorce process.  Additionally, a good family law mediator will have a legal background, which means he/she has more experience with the court system.

How can I modify an existing child support order and/or timesharing schedule?

Family mediation is the ideal forum for changing a prior court order of child support and a timesharing schedule.  Per Florida family law statute section 61.30, a party may seek modification of a child support order if there has been a “substantial change in circumstances.” The substantial change between the existing monthly obligation and the current guideline amount must be a difference of 15% or $50.00, whichever is greater. Instead of litigating the request for a modification in child support, the parents can hire a family mediator to assist with calculating the new child support amount.  Additionally, if the parents need to modify an existing Parenting Plan, a mediator is qualified to guide the parents in creating a new agreement.

Where do you hold your mediation session?

Family Focused Mediation, Inc. is designed to be flexible for its clients.  If the parties are centrally located in Broward County, Jenny Shane mediates at a law firm located on Cypress Creek Road just west of I-95.  If the parties prefer to mediate at a South Florida location outside of Broward County, Jenny travels to the parties and reserves a conveniently located conference room.

Does mediation have to occur in person?

In today’s technologically advanced society, mediating in person is not a must. Although Jenny prefers to hold her mediation sessions in person, she is available to mediate through other means, such as telephone, email, text and video conferencing.